Who’s that in the driver’s seat?

Consumers can get picked up in an Infiniti car by a pro driver as the brand tries to alleviate purchase pressure.
The inspired drive

Look, listen and leave. That’s what a few of us wish we could do when given a sales pitch. Purchase pressure, for some, can be a deal breaker. But auto brand Infiniti is trying to avoid losing customers over the stress of saying yes, launching a test-drive program that pairs potential buyers with professional drivers — and not sales people.

The “Inspired Drive” campaign works like this: a person visits the brand’s dedicated site, Theinspireddrive.com, and selects a model, a pick-up location, as well as the time and date they’d like to go for the test-drive. They then wait at home, work or wherever they may be for their professional driver, or Infiniti Intelligence Agent, as the brand calls them, to arrive with the vehicle. The customer and pro driver (of which there are 12, driving up to 50 passengers each day) take turns to drive, for 15 minutes at a time, anywhere in the GTA.

There are also added touches like branded water bottles upon arrival, driving gloves being given to passengers as a parting gift as well as a promotional card for $1,000 off the purchase of any new Infiniti vehicle.

What’s more, the experience is completely personalized, down to the conversation that takes place in the car. If you’re a mother with a young family, then the driver (who spent two days learning about the technologies in each of the two models being used) will talk to you about the car’s safety features, says Scott Macwilliam, operations manager at Infiniti. But if you’re a business executive on Bay St. and interested in performance and engine technology, then they’ll focus on that, he adds.

The point of the five-day program (which began on Monday and ends this Friday) is to give people a feel for the product and its latest technology, outside of any sales pressure, says Macwilliam. “We don’t want the drivers selling them the car, per say,” he notes. “We want them to demonstrate, in a very personalized way, the technology and features.”

To make people aware of the program, the brand has steered a bit off-course. Instead of promoting via mass channels, like TV and radio, as it is typically does, Infiniti harnessed digital and social media to get the word out. Working with Spoke on the creative strategy and OMD on media planning, the brand targets consumers who are currently shopping around for a new car, and then delivering digital banner ads that invite them to sign up. Macwilliam says the brand is also intent on converting those who have shown little to no interest in Infiniti products before.

“Our retailers have databases of customers who have never purchased an Infiniti, and are driving competitor vehicles. So we’re sending out invites for them to try out the car,” he adds. “We see this as an opportunity to gain market share in sales, and [at the same time], provide a luxury and unique experience that hasn’t been done before.”