Nissan let’s consumers create their own Front Page!

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When it comes to media innovation, brainstorming at the agency generates several ideas that get shot down for logistical or cost reasons. But Nissan and the newspaper O Estado De S. Paulo (The State of Sao Paulo) decided to be audaciously innovative.

Subscribers of the Sunday edition received a blank front page one week, featuring vacant boxes where headlines, pictures and copy normally appear. It featured an ad for Nissan (of course) and the readers were then asked to generate their own news & pictures. The Nissan tag line was ‘Escape the pattern’ – hence the idea of urging readers to create their own front page.

Creating the front page involved going online, clicking on a Nissan banner ad, writing headlines, uploading pictures and proofing the finished product before submitting the work. It was not very complicated – it involved choosing three photos with three headlines. The following Sunday each person that submitted a customized front page received their news and pictures printed on the cover of O Estado De S. Paulo. More than 1,000 personalized front pages were created and distributed; a Nissan ad at the bottom of the front page exclaimed, “we proved that deciding what should be the news is out of the pattern.” A full-page Nissan ad on the next page read, “Now that you’ve read the news, you have a whole day to buy a new car.” While I don’t have a reference of the ad or the page generated, the ad seems to be for Nissan Sentra.


Awesome effort (Agency: Lew´Lara/TBWA) considering the volume of customization involved. Reminded me of an award winning ad for Hutch, which appeared in the Economic Times Chennai edition in 2003. As the 3rd operator in Chennai, Hutch’s task was to get the opinion leaders to switch. The who’s-who in a certain locality, saw an ad in the ET addressing them by name and explaining Hutch’s offer & services. This won at the DMA International ECHO Awards that year.

I guess the hallmark of such innovations is evoking a response like ‘How the hell did they do that?‘ while not making the reading experience unpleasant. Speaking of unpleasant, how do you feel when you get the front page of TOI with that wrap around that only extends to a quarter of the front page? I simply end up dropping that page and continue reading. That chance is slim with the combined effort of Nissan and O Estado De S. Paulo.

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