Nissan gets political with Globe properties

November 07, 2012  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Politics can be contentious, but Nissan takes a risk on U.S. election domination

Nissan Canada has partnered with The Globe and Mail on a multi-day, election-themed advertising package that included sole sponsorship of the publication’s first-ever tabloid edition on Monday and domination of both its news and sports sections today.

Wednesday’s domination includes a double-page spread, outside back cover, front strip and centre ‘I’ placements. The car company has also taken over today.

“You’ll definitely know that Nissan’s got some new vehicles,” said Judy Wheeler, Nissan’s director of marketing. “We tried to push the envelope as much as we could and still get our key message across.”

On Monday, Nissan sponsored a special tabloid edition dedicated to the U.S. election that juxtaposed ads with editorial content. One ad spotlighting the Sentra’s interior with the message “It ends with you stretching out in comfort” sits below an article headlined “No sleep until the polls close.” The Globe distributed 300,000 copies of the tabloid product in major markets across the country.

While Wheeler was initially wary about associating the automotive brand with politics, she was convinced by the surge in readership that tends to accompany the Globe’s election coverage.

“At first I thought The Globe and Mail was coming to me because I’m American and would buy into the idea,” she said. “Once I realized that it really wasn’t about that, that is was more about readership, that’s my opinion changed. Originally I said ‘What other days can we choose?’

“We know there’s this fascination with U.S. elections and people tend to pick up the paper and read it all the way through on that particular day,” she said. “What better time to have an exclusive where you own all the ads from an automotive perspective?”

The project originated during a spring meeting between Nissan’s agencies TBWA/Toronto, TAM-TAM/TBWA in Montreal, OMD Canada and Capital C and what Wheeler called “key” media vendors.

The purpose of the meeting was to solicit out-of-the-box marketing solutions to support Nissan’s newly redesigned Sentra, Altima and Pathfinder models. “We wanted different ideas, things that had never been done before,” said Wheeler. “It wasn’t that we were going to spending a huge amount of money, but it was more about what we are going to spend, we want people to remember it.”

Previous executions that arose from the meeting were Nissan-sponsored Canada Day fireworks displays in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver that concluded with a 3D display that made it appear as though the new Altima was driving on the water.

This week also saw Nissan launch a massive out-of-home campaign at Toronto’s Dundas Square that includes 21 billboards currently promoting the new Sentra. The company’s presence in the popular downtown Toronto gathering spot will be extended with the arrival of the Nissan Family Zone as part of the upcoming 100th Grey Cup Festival.

“In my mind, challenger brands don’t talk, they do,” said Wheeler. “I was challenging our partners to do things differently. Nissan stands for “Innovation that Excites” (the company’s current global marketing tag), and I wanted people to get excited when they saw what we were doing.”

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