Cross Media: To Infiniti and Beyond

Nissan InfinitiNissan builds buzz


With its sleek, muscular curves and stylish interior, Nissan's 2008 Infiniti EX35 is definitely a looker. But what really sets the compact luxury sport utility vehicle apart, the carmaker says, isn't just good looks - it's advanced technology.

In addition to being the first vehicle ever to possess an Around View Monitor, a feature that employs six (Six! You can shoot your own Law & Order episode.) strategically mounted cameras to give drivers an all-angle view as they parallel park, the EX is also the first to possess a Scratch Shield, a clear coat of elastic resin that is actually capable of healing itself of minor scratches.

Given the sheer wow factor of these unique features and the EX's other advanced technological offerings, Infiniti's Los Angeles-based advertising agency TBWAChiatDay and TBWA's in-house interactive shop, Tequila, made them the primary focus of a multiplatform EXtraordinary-themed campaign promoting the EX.

The campaign is aimed at not one but two audiences - affluent young couples and affluent empty nesters, according to TBWA creative director Dennis Lim, who describes the target buyers as both males and females "who want luxury, enjoy driving quite a bit and want to buy a little something special for themselves."

George Kang, senior automotive analyst at, says he can certainly see empty nesters "taking an EX on a weekend trip to Santa Barbara." As for young couples, it remains to be seen whether they will gravitate toward this vehicle, Kang says, adding that he can imagine couples with one kid - but not more - purchasing the compact EX. The EX's primary rivals are the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX, Lim says. Kang reports that the Acura RDX is the No. 1 cross-shopped vehicle for the EX on

Americans' God-given right to load cars with useless crap does not come cheap. None of these vehicles is an inexpensive ride. The rear-wheel drive EX has a base price of just over $32,000, while the all-wheel drive EX starts at nearly $37,000, according to Infiniti. To reach people who can afford to shell out that kind of money for a car, TBWA and Tequila created a campaign that combines a luxurious Mediterranean look with demonstrations of specific EX features throughout the offline and online components.


Extraordinary Machine

On the tv side, there are a series of slick commercials shot in Athens and Santorini, Greece, and directed by Matthias Zentner of New York's Foreign Films. One of the spots, "Terrace," showcases the benefits of the EX's Around View Monitor as a man backs into a parking space situated right in the middle of a pool.

There is also a cross-platform sponsorship deal with The Daily Show featuring on-air billboards calling out EX's sponsorship, with tune-ins driving viewers online to the first-ever custom collection of clips from The Daily Show, titled "EXtraordinary Moments."

Elsewhere, Infiniti launched a cross-platform marketing plan with American Express Publishing, Time Inc. and CNN. It featured a series of city travel guides in AmEx's Travel + Leisure, Travel + Leisure Golf and Food & Wine, and in Time Inc.'s InStyle,Real Simple and Fortune. The CNN Airport Network ran segments sponsored by EX that had editors from Travel + Leisure discussing the city guides. CNN and CNN Headline News ran travel news and tips packages also sponsored by EX.


King of the Roadblocks

The EXtraordinary campaign reached out to potential buyers with more than two dozen pre-rolls and expandable rich media placements on lifestyle sites such as MSN, Yahoo, fox Sports, MSNBC and the Food Network, as well as auto sites like AOL Autos, and

Back on Super Tuesday, EX engaged in online home page ad roadblocks spread across several sites, including Yahoo, MSN and Time Inc. sites, resulting in an all-time record for traffic driven to on a single day, according to Joe Samfilippo, a senior marketing manager at Nissan; he notes that super rich creative units were developed specifically for these placements, and the online ad campaign was the primary contributor for the record-breaking traffic to

The EX also sponsored online magazine for its charter year and, as the exclusive sponsor, placed video pre-roll and overlay on the site with standard and rich banner support.

Where the campaign really got creative was in the use of emerging media. In fact, EX was part of the Windows Media Center IPTV launch last September via pre-rolls, and a clickable interface on Windows Media Center IPTV allowed consumers to drill down for a richer view of the vehicle.

A partnership with Windows Media Center IPTV made perfect sense for the brand, says Tequila associate creative director Glenn Sanders. "The Infiniti brand tends to attract people who are very design-savvy and very modern. These are people who innately understand technology, and the technology in the vehicle is very groundbreaking and forward-thinking, and so it helps us to work with technology in the interactive realm that is just as groundbreaking and forward-thinking. Windows Media Center IPTV is the perfect melding of the medium with the audience."


From the Future

EX was the first automotive partner to team with Windows Media Center IPTV. EX was also the first automotive brand to make use of French company Total Immersion's augmented reality technology in the United States through EX kiosks placed at The History Channel's "City of the Future" design competition shows, held in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Atlanta and sponsored by EX.

Visitors to the EX kiosks were able to see themselves interacting with a 3D virtual EX by holding trading cards up to a large flat-screen video display. On the screen, the cards would transform to display a 3D virtual EX that could be rotated and examined. Product features were revealed via small animated demonstrations.

The EX trading cards were a giveaway at the event; to date, nearly 20,000 consumers had taken them home, and at least 50,000 were exposed to the EX kiosk itself, Samfilippo reports. Sanders says visitors to the kiosk were fascinated by the futuristic display. "When we got people to interact with this, their eyes just lit up," Sanders recalls. "People were laughing and showing their friends how to do it. Several times during these events, we had crowds gathered around to watch in amazement. It was a very exciting way to engage users." The kiosks were so popular that they were put to use again at auto shows in Chicago, New York and Atlanta.

In Sanders' estimation, real interaction with a car brand - not just at a dealership - has value. "I don't know if we know yet if it is essential, but I think it's something people appreciate," he says. "When you are standing in front of something and physically engaging with it, there is going to be a memory that you bring away from that experience, especially if it's something you've never seen before. I think the value of that is almost priceless, because people are going to tell their family and friends about this experience."

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