Nissan turns over a new Leaf

The brand's zero-emissions electric vehicle, the Leaf, is not launching until fall 2011, but a campaign starts today to educate and court trailblazers.

Nissan is offering consumers a first look at the new Leaf, a zero-emissions electric vehicle, with the launch of a cinema campaign and informational website. Although the Leaf won’t make its debut in the market until fall 2011, a typical marketing and media strategy would not work for the Leaf, explains Mark McDade, marketing director for Nissan Canada.

‘The consumer journey for the Nissan Leaf is quite different in the sense that it’s not like a typical car,’ McDade tells MiC. ‘Consumer engagement and education are required to get people comfortable with the technology,’ he says.

That educational component will be housed on the Nissan Leaf microsite, and other media will drive people to the site. The campaign kicks off today with the launch of cinema ads in more than 200 theatres across Canada. Creative was developed by TBWAChiatDay in the US, with OMD Toronto assisting the media buy in Canada.

The engagement strategy also includes a qualification process, where ‘hand-raisers’ or interested parties will be screened according to their driving habits to determine if the Leaf is really right for them. This will help avoid any negative associations with the brand, says McDade.

‘It is a new technology and there will be new adopters, but it’s incumbent upon us to make sure they have the best experience possible,’ he says.

And if their gas-guzzling driving habits just aren’t going to transfer well to the Leaf? ‘They’ll be strongly encouraged that this might not be the vehicle for them.’