Nissan Seeks Youthful Drivers For Newest Versa


Nissan is playing with the dichotomy between real and virtual cars and friendship in its first big campaign for its little car, Versa, in three years. The campaign for the 2012 Versa focuses on vehicle features, interior amenities, and the price tag, which starts just south of $11,000.

The campaign, via the L.A. office of TBWAChiatDay; Critical Mass, Calgary; and media agency OMD, gets the spacious message across with youthful creative and a fashion focus, and an open-ended theme line, "Most ___ Per Dollar."

Ads, which start Monday, feature hip twenty-somethings whose challenge to the Versa's interior space does not come in the usual form -- loads of gear -- but with their vertiginous hairstyles, platform shoes, slippers, roller skates, an assortment of hats and lots of friends.

The ads, which use stop-action photography to offer an urban montage of different people popping in and out of the car, are also set to an unreleased track from the band Foster the People. The song is also streamed on Nissan's social media platforms. The track will be a free download on the upcoming Versa iAd and Web site.



Nissan is also using iAd technology for a digital vector of the campaign that comprises a 360-degree interactive experience from within the car. Aligned with the campaign's advertising creative, the iAd allows users to change things like hats and shoes, and offers panoramic views from different angles within the car and from the exterior. The company says the technology is not limited to Apple mobile devices, but can be used on a desktop as well as on Internet TV.

Jon Brancheau, VP marketing, says the company is aiming to catch the attention of people in their mid- to late-20's who are settling into their first real jobs, but have lost touch -- at least physically -- with their friends. "Their financial priorities and new time commitments make being with old friends who have dispersed to other cities a strictly online endeavor," he said.

Thus, the campaign for Versa includes a "Versa Road Trips" promotion starting in mid-September. The campaign -- via Nissan's site, which uses Facebook Connect -- lets users devise road trips by selecting routes and inviting Facebook friends as traveling companions. To vie for the real thing, consumers must submit their trip, telling Nissan in the process why their virtual journey deserves to be elaborated into the 3D world with a real Versa as a Kerouac-ian chariot.

Nissan says five winners will get the 2012 Versa Sedan for the trip. For their part, the travelers will have to submit social-media commentary and media uploads during their road trips. To make that easier for the winners, Nissan says it will put stop-motion cameras inside and outside the cars.

But after the trips, the automaker will take that footage and make road-trip films that will be the subject of a custom online film festival in which Nissan's social media universe will judge the films.

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