Nissan Eyes Hispanic Market With Soccer-Themed Reality Show

Nissan is setting its sights on the Hispanic market with a soccer-themed reality show, "El Reto Nissan 2," a five-part series centering on a match between Argentina and Mexico. The series premiered on Fox Sports en Espanol on April 29 and will continue airing every Sunday until the final match on Saturday, June 23.

The game will be played at Robertson Stadium in Houston. The games are telecast in Spanish on Fox Sports en Espanol and in English by Fox Soccer Channel on June 23.

The five, unscripted episodes feature players such as Alberto Garcia Aspe, Luis "Zague" Alves, Sergio Goicochea and Alejandro Mancuso, who were part of the national Mexican and Argentinean teams in 1993. As part of the reality element, they will be tracked down, "ambushed" and persuaded to join their former colleagues.

They will then participate in training sessions and practices to prepare them for the rematch. The reality series, leading up to the game, works up a story of the rivalry between the two countries via archival footage of games and interviews with players and fans.

Nissan will incorporate product integration in the program by showcasing its Pathfinder, Titan and Altima vehicles throughout.

The effort includes retofinalnissan.com, which has background information, player profiles, programming details and news updates. Fans can also enter, via the Web site, a national sweepstakes where three grand-prize winners will get a trip for four to the final match.

Nissan will also run video feeds in Miami and Los Angeles, each city having VIP viewing parties-Miami favoring Argentina, L.A. favoring Mexico. The events will include food (Mexican and Argentinean, presumably) and appearances by soccer stars from the respective national teams.

Michelle Irwin--senior manager, marketing communications at Nashville, Tenn.-based Nissan--says the program was developed in conjunction with New York-based Vidal Partnership, the company's Hispanic AOR. She says last year's inaugural Reto Final effort garnered strong viewer numbers.

"The ratings were fantastic," she says, adding that viewer numbers were 41% above expectations, and delivered 58% more viewers than anticipated for the final game, which last year was in L.A. For that effort, Nissan received over 30 minutes' integration in programming.

Irwin says format of the show makes it ideal for vehicle integration "because it involves going in search of players for the teams, so we have gotten great product placement because it involves a lot of driving."

She says product placement this time is focused on Titan and Pathfinder because they index very well in the Hispanic community and because refreshed versions of both vehicles are launching now.

Advertising surrounding the broadcasts will feature Altima and Titan, and vehicles will be on display at the stadium in Texas, per Irwin. She adds that about 25% of Nissan sales are to Hispanic and African-American consumers, and 15% of Nissan sales are to Hispanic Americans.

"That's the highest percentage versus key competitors," she says. The company, which has increased its spend against the Hispanic market in fiscal 2007, is running Hispanic marketing programs this year to promote Altima, Sentra Versa, Pathfinder and the forthcoming Rogue compact.

Other programs Nissan is doing include "Copa Nissan," a soccer tournament in the U.S. Hispanic market and South America. In the U.S., Nissan is a sponsor of the Latin Grammies.

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