CASSIES Bronze: Nissan proves it’s a winter warrior

To offset the impression that the Nissan Rogue didn’t have off-road capabilities, a campaign akin to a Hollywood film trailer was created.

imgEvents, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis: Despite having been in the Canadian market for seven years, the Nissan Rogue, a small crossover utility vehicle (CUV), significantly lagged behind competitors not only in sales, but key tracking measures despite receiving consistent advertising support since launch. Although the Nissan Rogue had AWD, it suffered from weak imagery in the minds of consumers for off-road capability – a key driver of purchase consideration. With prior campaigns having highlighted style and cargo space, failure to establish off-road credentials needed to be addressed to increase the new model Rogue’s share of segment from 4.4% in 2012 to 8% by 2016.

Insight & Strategy: The target – dual income, suburban, childless couple in their mid-30s – purchase CUV’s because of the all-wheel-drive capability, not to drive off-road (which they rarely do) but to allow them to drive confidently in the adverse conditions of Canadian winters. This instills in them a sense of pride as they enjoy being relied upon when driving conditions are at their worst. Although there are aspects of the season that many Canadians enjoy, drivers frequently have a combative relationship with winter: when driving conditions become perilous, the vehicles and their drivers become heroes. To establish distance from competitors who were all positioning their CUVs as versatile family vehicles, a masculine, aggressive tone would be used for Nissan Rogue.

Execution: Produced with the look and feel of a Hollywood blockbuster film trailer, winter was represented as the villain, personified as marauding sinister snowmen, and the Rogue as the hero, enabling the driver to rescue helpless civilians from their city under siege. Running from January to March, 2014, across television, broadcast sponsorships, cinema, digital, SEM, social and key auto shows, the media objective for broadcast was to utilize channels that aligned with the heroism tone and feel. Media focused not only on Rogue itself, but also on the conflict with winter: behind-the-scenes interviews with the evil snowmen and the heroic driver were shared across social channels. The digital campaign across YouTube, MSN, Yahoo, CBC, SAY media, Skype, Windows 8 and Twitter directed campaign targets online to contact a Nissan dealer.

Results: Over the four months of the campaign, the Nissan Rogue has accounted for an 8% share of its 25-vehicle large segment, exceeding the share of 5% from the same period in the previous year as well as the 5.5% share from the four months prior to the campaign.

Brand health measures also showed notable increases with awareness and opinion both reaching their year three objectives. The month after Winter Warrior launched in Canada it was picked up by Nissan North America to run in the U.S.

Cause & Effect: The $5.7 million spend for Rogue was less than the estimated launch spends for key competitors from Honda ($5.9 million for Honda CRV) and Toyota ($7.0 million for Toyota Rav4). In the year prior to the campaign, the Nissan Rogue had been on sale with discounts as high as $5,000 off of the MSRP up until the campaign started, at which point they were no longer available. No new retail locations were added.

Client: Nissan Canada
Senior marketing manager: Mary McNeil
Agency: TBWA\Toronto
ECD:  Allen Oke
CD: Rodger Eyre
ACD/AD: Susie Lee
CW: Jonah Flynn
Head of broadcast: Nadya Macneil
Group brand director: Calvin Daniels
Brand director: Rimi Singh
Account supervisor: Christine Rowe