Nissan starts new conversation

Car launch campaign is social media only.

Nissan Canada is calling on the creative cream of the crop to audition for the chance to be given one of 50 new Nissan Cubes, and leveraging their artistic efforts to unveil the car for the first time in Canada. The only catch is that it’s invite-only.

The campaign, which kicked off in February with a teaser site at, is being touted as groundbreaking; it is employing only social media as a launch platform for a new car. Developed by Toronto-based Capital C, the goal is to ensure the cool crowd – not grannies – are the ones that get behind the wheel. And to do it, the media budget has been reduced and diverted to car prizing and an integrated social experiment.

The invitation phase began in March and has been targeting the artsy over Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as well as with street teams going to venues in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver frequented by the creatively inclined. DJs, skateboarders, graffiti artists and the like are being given surveys to fill out that will ultimately be narrowed down to a group of 500 invited to participate in the audition process, which commences mid-April, lasting for six weeks.

‘In times like this we’re all looking for different ways to market and different ways to connect,’ says Jeff Parent, VP sales and marketing at Nissan Canada. ‘[Artists] are finding those ways to connect.’

Eager participants quickly began to vie for an invite to the audition process by attempting to rally support within their own communities, as well as set themselves apart from their competitors, via personal webpages, Twitter tweets, Facebook pages and blogs that showcase their creative talents. Capital C has people measuring every aspect of the campaign to create some benchmarks, including tracking what participants do to self-promote.

‘When you put something out there in the social community there’s an incredible multiplier effect,’ says Tony Chapman, CEO of Capital C. ‘That’s the magic of setting an idea in this pinball game called social media.’

Auditioners will be provided with a canvas of sorts on to display their creative talents. The goal is to have Canada’s creative community convey the message of what the Cube brand is about through their shape and efforts leading up to the giveaways – taking place in June after a voting phase – as well as what the winners do within their social networks and how they personalize their new Cubes in the days that follow.