Critical Mass drives engagement with new Nissan campaign

Critical Mass is rolling out a new integrated campaign for Nissan to boost engagement of a reality show about racing cars, a racing video game and (you guessed it) actual cars. The campaign, which uses social TV and Facebook integration, is built around the launch of the second season of GT Academy (which airs on Spike […]

Critical Mass is rolling out a new integrated campaign for Nissan to boost engagement of a reality show about racing cars, a racing video game and (you guessed it) actual cars.

The campaign, which uses social TV and Facebook integration, is built around the launch of the second season of GT Academy (which airs on Spike TV starting Thursday night and sees gamers compete to become professional race car drivers), PlayStation’s Gran Turismo 5 video game and the Nissan GT-R race cars.

In order to prompt engagement with the reality show and video game, Nissan kicked up the show’s viewing experience by creating branded companion content that supplements the TV episodes.

“Our goal was to amp up interactivity and make the GT Academy experience more personal and social by putting the user right in the middle of the action,” said Steve Savic, group creative director at Critical Mass.

Savic, who works in the agency’s Calgary office, points to recent Forrester Research data about social TV that shows that 85% of tablet owners use their tablets while watching TV.

Outlining some of the features of this year’s GT Academy digital experience, Savic said the concept was “speed racers go social.”

Going live Thursday evening, the GTAcademy.US “Pit Pass” component (seen at right) allows viewers to watch the show on TV and use their tablet or smartphone to get complementary content such as interactive maps, fun facts, tutorials, polls and video. The time-synched companion content will change with the airing of each episode and, as Savic said, is meant to “drive deeper viewer engagement and inspire social media sharing.” He added that “it’s all app-free; no download required.”

Another highlight of the campaign is the “Victory is Yours” experience, which uses Facebook Connect to leverage a person’s Facebook profile and turns it into a customized GT Academy video. “We drop users onto the [U.K. race] track at Silverstone and let them go for a rip with sound and feeling of the real thing,” said Savic. “Everything is shot to make the fan the hero.”

For fans that want to get a realistic look at the interior and exterior of Nissan’s GT-R and 370Z models, another part of the campaign features an enhanced 360-degree experience that gives a first-person view of the cars using iPhone and iPad gyroscopes.

This year’s campaign builds on one from last year in which Savic said Nissan, Sony Playstation and the Speed Channel worked together to start the reality show, which heavily features Gran Turismo. For that campaign, Critical Mass created a digital experience that put users into the driver’s seat of a GT racecar. TBWA\Chiat\Day created offline work.

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