The program includes a grassroots campaign; ads created with Rodale and set to run in titles like Runner's World and Running Times; an online program featuring a raft of athletic "Masters"; and a presence at endurance events nationwide throughout the year.
Nissan also gets title sponsorship of an 80-page Runner's World souvenir guide by called "The Runner's World Championship Guide for Eugene '08." Nissan and Rodale will offer the guide in Eugene, and at national events. Nissan will also sponsor "The Running Film Festival presented by Nissan" at the University of Oregon.
The "Masters," whose advice, videos and programs will be on a Nissan-branded Web site, are Alberto Salazar, Hall of Fame marathon runner and coach of the Nike Oregon Project; Chris Carmichael, former Olympian, best-selling author and trainer to Lance Armstrong; fitness trainer Kathy Kaehler; and renowned surfer Laird Hamilton. The athletes will also appear in a Nissan print and online campaign in Rodale titles like Runner's World, Running Times, Bicycling, Men's Health, Women's Health and Best Life.
Rodale will tout the "Masters" with a custom Web site, MasterTheShift.com, elaborating the training wisdom of the masters via webisodes and training videos. The site will have weekly sweepstakes to win a Maxima, events listings, and tools and social features.
Grassroots efforts include "Master the Shift," a program visiting nine endurance races with vehicle displays, appearances, local dealer integrations, kiosks, giveaways and a weekly sweepstakes. Markets include Eugene and Portland, Ore.; San Jose and San Diego, Calif.; Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas.
Angus Macaulay, VP/director, Rodale marketing solutions, says the 2008 program is the second "Masters"-focused event for Nissan. "They have been a print partner for years, and last year, we launched 'Master the Shift' to support the new Rogue vehicle, they approached us with wanting to engage at a deeper level," he says.
He says, based on the success of last year's program, it was expanded to include more events. "We have more events this year, and the online package is bigger," he says. There are also more athletic gurus reflecting an appeal to both men and women. "It's a real nice mix, given the breadth of audience."
Macaulay says Nissan's "Master the Shift" presence at races will reach "tens of thousands of people--race participants--who have a personal connection to it. We developed a full-scale footprint with vehicles, brand ambassadors, and promotional activities to get people in and around the vehicle. It's an engaged experience at these events, more than just traditional sponsorship. There's lots of consumer engagement."