Nissan targets top end

Competition is intensifying in the high-end luxury segment of the Canadian automobile market, and a lot of the new push is coming from Japanese automakers.Toyota Canada has been making inroads in recent years with its highly successful Lexus entry, which has...

Competition is intensifying in the high-end luxury segment of the Canadian automobile market, and a lot of the new push is coming from Japanese automakers.

Toyota Canada has been making inroads in recent years with its highly successful Lexus entry, which has become a strong challenger to the two icons of imported luxury cars, bmw and Mercedes.

Honda’s Acura is making gains, and now Nissan is adding to the momentum with the relaunch of the top end of its Infiniti line, the Q45.

Infiniti has three products: the G20, an entry-level car retailing in the $25,000 range; the J30, selling for about $40,000; and the Q45, which has a $60,000-plus price tag.

The three Infiniti cars are styled differently and marketed as a ‘collection’ rather than the ‘series’ approach used by bmw and Mercedes.

Nissan opened its salvo with a tv campaign that has taken quite an unconventional turn from traditional car advertising.

In this case, however, the innovation was not so much in the content of the advertising – which shows a beautifully photographed car doing sharp turns and driving in wide open-spaces – but in the way the tv time was bought.

The unusual media buy came out of a strategy session addressing Infiniti’s media dilemma.

Nissan’s agency Chiat/Day recognized that Infiniti needed the help of television to build awareness for the brand name – it has been relatively undeveloped in Canada – and to make the statement of grandeur and luxury.

Yet with projected sales of about 3,000 cars this year, the brand does not have the volume to warrant a major television buy.

And, and even more significantly, the $100,000 to $150,000-a-year people who make up Infiniti’s target market, are an elusive group to reach through a mass market medium.

So Chiat/Day did its own targetting.

The agency used a research company to find about 250 people in this upper-income group and conducted individual one-on-one interviews in their homes.

Two rather surprising findings emerged, says Chiat/Day account planner Sandra Thompson.

The interviews contradicted the conventional thinking ‘that these people don’t watch tv and that they are overwhelmingly dominated by u.s. media.’

In fact, Chiat/Day found that people in the Infiniti target group watch significant amounts of television – but very selectively – and that while they do read foreign publications, they virtually do not miss reading Canadian newspapers and financial papers.

Chiat/Day therefore bought its tv entirely by individual programs: news, docu-dramas, a lot of sports and shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The print portion includes ads in financial papers and two million copies of a 12-page broadsheet insert that will be distributed across the country through daily newspapers.