Nissan’s social launch experiment

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

Nissan Canada is calling on the creative cream of the crop to audition for the chance to win one of 50 new blue Nissan Cubes, and will be 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 Hypercube.ca, is being touted as groundbreaking as it employs 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 – is the one seen behind the wheel. And to do it, marketing funds were diverted to car prizing and orchestrating an integrated social experiment.

The invitation phase began in March, and has been targeting the artsy over Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, while street teams hit venues in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver frequented by the creatively inclined. DJs, skateboarders, graffiti artists and the like are filling out surveys that will help narrow down a group of 500 who will then be invited to participate in the six-week audition process starting mid-April.

‘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.’

Eager participants quickly began to vie for an invite by rallying support within their communities and setting themselves apart from competitors via personal webpages, Twitter tweets, Facebook pages and blogs that showcase their creative talents. Capital C is measuring every aspect of the campaign to create 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 Hypercube.ca to display their creative talents. The objective is to have Canada’s creative community shape and convey what the Cube brand is about through their efforts leading up to the giveaways – taking place in June after a voting phase – as well as following what the winners do within their social networks and how they personalize their new Cubes.