Why Nissan made ads for over 150 target audiences

The demographic for the still-growing SUV segment is now so big, the automaker needed to address a range of different needs.
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Nissan previously used its Rogue model to launch the “Conquer All Conditions” campaign, which turned into a multi-year platform showing its SUVs could handle whatever Canadian roads it needed to traverse.

Now, as the segment continues to be the main driver of automotive sales in Canada, it is using the Rogue to try a new approach to reaching SUV drivers – whoever they might be.

The latest Rogue campaign began with a new 60-second spot that introduced the 2021 model as a vehicle that can suit the needs of any family, like the “Jiu-Jitsu fam,” “dog yoga fam” and “scuba diving fam.” The spot shows how suitable features for each families’ needs – like intelligent all-wheel drive with terrain selector for the “cave explorer” fam, or the quietest cabins in its class for the “knitting fam.”

But focus groups the brand conducted in Sept. 2019 when development for the campaign began didn’t provide a lot of clarity as to what specific features Canadians felt were most important, as their responses – beyond broad strokes like comfort and safety – varied greatly.

So, 156 pieces of digital video content were also created so the most relevant message about the Rogue and its features could be targeted to consumers at various stages of the car-buying process, broken out from scenes seen in the main spot. For example, yoga lovers get an ad about Apple CarPlay features that play mood-setting music. Outdoor adventurers get an ad about a heads-up display that makes it easier to find a new perch to climb to.

According to Adam Paterson, director of marketing at Nissan Canada, the SUV segment remains the largest one in the country, with more Canadians buying compact SUVs than any other type of vehicle – which means the segment covers a lot of different demographics with a lot of different needs.

“It’s not just new parents. It’s not just retirees. It’s not just new married couples,” he says. “All of these people are looking at the segment for different values and features that the vehicles offer and we’re trying to tailor the campaign specifically to the needs and wants of each one of those groups.”

Nissan has made its SUV lineup a core focus of its marketing for the better part of the last decade, with “Conquer All Conditions” zeroing in on safety features that make the vehicles suited for driving on Canadian roads. But as Nissan looks to keep up with the segment, Paterson says casting a wider net is an opportunity to showcase how any Canadian could interact with the Rogue.

“The campaign, as viewed by a Canadian, is not going to look exactly the same to everyone. The Rogue will live, appear and ideally position itself as suiting your specific life or interests – and those vary greatly between individuals,” he says. “If you [as a brand] chose to specifically go after one angle, or one position, you shoehorn yourself into just that.”

The campaign was led by Nissan United, a unit created by Nissan’s longtime AOR Juniper Park\TBWA to handle all elements of the brand’s Canadian marketing, including creative, media, strategy and – especially important for this campaign – data.

To create this campaign, Nissan United used data from both Nissan, its vendors and its own Omni data platform to identify consumer interests, create target audiences and direct media spend across channels. For instance, it worked with Google on an optimized sequencing approach to serve ads to the right audiences on YouTube. It also established a partnership with DAZN to capture live sports audiences while bars are closed, and worked with new publishers like Parent Life Network to reach its family audience. The buy also includes digital buys to Canadians that are likely to consider vehicles in the short-term (AutoTrader, Kijiji) and long-term (The Weather Network, Verizon Media, Spotify).