Nissan taps Big Bang star power for new work with Bell Media

Nissan, Bell, TBWA and OMD bring a Big Bang star to Canadian airwaves

Nissan Canada is hoping that a bit of nerdy star power will yield recognition and sales for its relaunched Micra brand.

Jim Parsons

The automaker has partnered with Bell Media on a new Micra promotion featuring Emmy-award winning actor Jim Parsons, one of the stars of the hit CTV show The Big Bang Theory.

Parsons is appearing in two custom 30-second spots that will air exclusively across several Bell Media properties for the next five weeks. In the first spot, debuting Thursday night on CTV, Parsons highlights the spaciousness of the urban-friendly car.

A second spot features Parsons highlighting some of the Micra’s features. Both spots were conceived and created by Bell Media Brand Partnerships, the Bell Media Agency and TBWA Toronto, with media from OMD Canada.

Following their primetime debut on CTV, the 30-second spots will air for five weeks across CTV, CTV Two, The Comedy Network and the CTV Go app. Extended versions of the spots will also begin running on CTV.ca beginning tomorrow.

Mary McNeil, senior manager of marketing communications for Nissan Canada, called Parsons the “perfect choice” to represent the Micra brand. “[Parsons’] much-loved, fun, outgoing personality was a natural fit to communicate two of the Nissan Micra’s key benefits of practical size and unbeatable value in a humorous and entertaining way that will resonate with our target audience,” she said in a release.

But does the “big brand theory” that celebrities can help move product really have merit?

A recent research paper from Ace Metrix entitled “The Impact of Celebrities in Advertising” concluded that celebrities are not always the path to greater consumer engagement or sales.

In a recent review of 1,200 national TV ads featuring a celebrity that ran between Jan. 1, 2012 and Oct. 24, 2013, Ace Metrix found that TV ads featuring actors, sports stars, music stars etc. did not have a tangible impact.

“We can confirm that ads featuring celebrities do not have higher creative scores than other ads,” said the report. “Rather, across all measurements gathered in the Ace Metrix survey, advertisements that featured celebrities scored slightly lower than advertisements that did not feature celebrities.”

While the report noted that some ads featuring celebrities did score well, it described the practice as a “mixed bag” for brands. “Using a celebrity who delivers a substantive message and has a strong connection to the brand or product can yield a highly effective ad; however, finding the right balance proves to be elusive for most celebrity creative executions,” the report noted.

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