Infiniti Motor Co. is consolidating its global integrative creative account at Publicis Groupe which is creating a “bespoke” agency to handle the account called Publicis Q, which will be centered on digital experience.
“It’s one of their real strengths, building a solution around the client,” Phil York, general manager, global brand and marketing at Infiniti, tells Marketing Daily in an exclusive interview. “The Q hearkens back to the very first Infiniti car, the Q45, which was our first car on sale in the U.S. 31 years ago now. So in talking with them about getting back to our roots, our authentic Japanese origins, it seemed very appropriate to use that moniker as the name for our joint partnership together.”
Infiniti spent $107 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2019, according to Kantar Media.
The automaker has been working with 10 different agencies for creative, digital and social, including Crispin Porter + Bogusky in the United States, he says. CPB has had the U.S. portion of the account since October 2014.
“We’ve been working with a whole range of agencies across the globe, and that’s the real reason we are doing this: to bring everything together under one house,” York says. “A single agency solution makes a whole lot of sense, particularly as we are clarifying the brand. Having some strong brand governance across everything we are doing is the key reason for moving.”
Infiniti moved its headquarters back to Yokohama, Japan from Hong Kong last year to enhance collaboration with parent Nissan Motor Co.
“We have been working out what is the essence of the Infiniti brand, and how are we going to stand out and appeal to our customers tomorrow and into the future," York says. "We’ve done a lot of work on that, and now we need an agency partner who can translate that work into customer-facing communications.”
The luxury automaker signed a three-year deal with Publicis, he says. Media buying, which was not part of the review, continues to be handled by Omnicom’s OMD.
“The process has been really collaborative for us, and I think that’s been really good for the company as well,” he says. “We’ve brought all of our regions and our markets into this process.”
The ‘“rigorous” nine-month agency search was led by consultant MediaLink and was hampered by COVID-19, says York. Other competitors in the pitch reportedly included MDC, Omnicom and WPP.
Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the brand’s “Luxury Should Be Lived In” tagline in 2018 and it will continue to be used, York says.
“It’s a brand belief and something we hold true to the soul of the brand,” he says. “But what we’ve been doing as part of the clarification of the brand is getting back to our Japanese roots: redefining what modern Japanese luxury means, and what it means for a premium automotive brand like Infiniti.”
The first work from Publicis Q will be for the launch of the new 2022 QX60 three-row SUV, which goes on sale this fall in United States.