||Nissan Readies Sponsorship to Promote New Vehicles
Automaker Uses Sponsorship to Reach Consumers Beyond the 30-Second TV Spot
With five new vehicles slated for release over the next 15 months, Nissan North America, Inc. is counting on sponsorship to drive interest in its refreshed product offering.
The unit of Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan Motor Co. will roll out the all-new 2013 Altima by early July followed by the redesigned Sentra sedan and Pathfinder SUV later this year. The company will roll out two other new cars next year.
The vehicles follow the December 2010 launch of the Leaf, the automaker's first all-electric car.
And Nissan is using both international and domestic sponsorships to promote the new vehicles.
On the global level, the automaker this year expanded its presence on the international cycling scene with co-title of the Radioshack Nissan Trek pro cycling team. Nissan has cosponsored the team since 2010.
In the U.S., Nissan has extended its long-standing partnership with the Heisman Trust and Heisman Trophy with a new five-year contract.
Nissan uses those and other ties as part of an integrated marketing platform to reach active lifestyle enthusiasts. The company accomplishes that goal through a mix of sponsorships, media buys and promotional extensions that extend the Nissan brand beyond 30-second TV spots.
"We want our marketing platforms to play off each other so we can maximize what it is that we want to do, which is to sell more cars and trucks," said J Schaffer, Nissan's senior manager of promotions.
Nissan uses three platforms to engage consumers: pro cycling, marathons and college sports. Below, IEG SR breaks down the three platforms:
Professional cycling. Nissan in 2010 inked a sponsorship with Team Radioshack, a tie it expanded this year with co-title status.
The automaker -- which also sponsors the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge -- expanded its involvement with the team to gain a deeper connection with cycling enthusiasts.
"The great thing about cycling is that the fan base is engaged and enthusiastic. This gives us another way to connect on a deep basis," said Schaffer.
Like its other sponsorships, Nissan activates cycling across multiple platforms. For example, the company leveraged last month's Amgen Tour of California with an ad buy on NBC Sports and on-site vehicle display.
The 2013 Altima served as the race's official car, an event that marked the vehicle's first public viewing outside auto shows, said Schaffer.
Nissan also used the race to showcase the Leaf and other vehicles, he added.
Nissan leverages the Radioshack Nissan Trek cycling team by hosting athletes at local dealerships. The company hosted eight riders earlier this year at a new dealership in San Francisco.
Marathons. Nissan sponsors the Boston Marathon, ING New York City Marathon, Arlington, Va.'s Marine Corps Marathon and other endurance sports events to promote its Innovation for Endurance marketing platform.
The automaker, which previously sponsored the events under the Master the Shift banner, switched the moniker last year to reflect its new marketing tagline.
Nissan uses the events as part of an integrated marketing platform that promotes personal achievement. The program includes an ad buy in Bicycling, Men's Health and other Rodale publications as well as endorsement deals with swimmer Ryan Lochte, long distance runner Ryan Hall and other elite athletes.
Nissan promotes the athletes and events through the Innovation for Endurance Facebook page and other social media channels. The company uses the channels to promote athlete appearances and share content.
College football. Nissan uses the Heisman Trophy as the centerpiece of a 360-degree college football marketing platform.
The program includes a media buy during game TV broadcasts, an experiential marketing program in conjunction with Sports Illustrated and appearances by former Heisman Trophy winners.
Nissan also activates the program by hosting Heisman Trophy appearances at local dealerships.
In addition to marathons, cycling and college football, Nissan sponsors a handful of properties located around its Franklin, Tenn. headquarters. Ties include the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon presented by Nissan, the NHL Nashville Predators and Ryman Auditorium.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 06/11/12)
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