Nissan's Marketing Innovation Lab Flips For GT-R


Nissan U.S.A.’s Marketing Innovation Lab has been mixing it up with digital startups to power auto marketing campaigns. The lab's newest program is an online content project on Flipboard supporting the launch of the latest U.S. market car wearing the NISMO performance sub-brand, the GT-R NISMO supercar. The car, being unveiled pretty much simultaneously at the Tokyo Motor Show and Los Angeles Auto Show, joins two other NISMO-badged cars in the U.S.: the high-performance versions of the 370Z and Juke crossover. 

The GT-R effort comprises a trio of just-launched digital magazines on Flipboard. Each has a coffee table buff-book aesthetic and is populated with NISMO-centric text, photographic, and video content pulled from the Web and from Nissan’s archives. The Innovation Lab, based in Nissan North America’s Franklin, Tenn. headquarters fired up the program by tapping Atlanta-based startup N4MD ("informed") to create the Flipboard platform. 



Each of the online magazines offers a different perspective on the NISMO program and the cars: "100Rear/50Front" comprises articles and art shots about the GT-R; "Car Love" is a crowd-sourced photo book of Nissan sports cars, that also includes exclusive images from Nissan's own photo library; and NISMO Performance, which focuses on Nissan's motorsports program with stories and photos of teams and cars.

Erich Marx, Nissan's director of interactive media, tells Marketing Daily that the lab tapped N4MD because it offers an alternative to having to manually manage a Flipboard to reorganize it and update it with new content. "Lots of times Flipboard content gets stale and you get the same content day after day," he says, explaining that N4MD uses a kind of keyword crawler and a back-end user interface to make it all automatic on the front end, and a button click operation on the back end. 

"It will, for example, find anything out there worldwide that says 'NISMO' and bring it back to us. It's really an organizational tool that lets us grab all the content we want to use from the Web and upload it to either of the three magazines as often as we want. It not only finds content and delivers it to us but gives us a dashboard to choose what’s available with the click of a button." 

Marx says the digital marketing division will promote the magazines within Nissan’s social sites and at its NissanUSA homepage. "We definitely need to drive traffic to these three magazines, so we also need to provide links and click-throughs. The Marketing Innovation Lab helps us find tools that allow us to do this sort of cool innovative marketing, but we still need to support it with traditional marketing."

The company last used the lab to power some facets of the campaign for the 2014 Rogue. A partnership with startup StadiumStockExchange, which the Innovation Lab found through Nashville’s new tech conference, Southland, gave Nissan sole sponsorship of its fantasy football platform. Another project involved a partnership with a startup online food delivery company called, wherein Nissan had ads and promotional material on packaging of the service’s home-delivered gourmet meals.

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