Small cars are in the news again. Except, they aren’t called cars by Nissan. They are launching the Nissan Cube in the US next month, labelling them ‘mobile devices’. The car has been around in Japan and was recently restyled and revamped. Priced under $14,000 (approx Rs. 7 lacs) it’s a cute but boxy car.
Interestingly, they have hired marketing students from 10 US Universities to create a campaign for the Cube. The campaigns will primarily be run at their respective campuses free of any meddling from Nissan corporate. The company says “we don’t want to influence them; we think we’ll actually learn something from what they come up with.” The company will also run a campaign borrowing terms from technology, like “search engine,” “browse,” “storage capacity,” “add friends” and “set preferences” to describe features of the Cube. And the media mix skews decidedly toward non-traditional elements like iPhone games, wallpapers, text messaging, the Internet and MP3 downloads. Though way above the target audience age group, I liked the car design and the way it was presented on the website. Letting students create a campaign without ‘approval’ or sanction from the company is an interesting move. Will it make the target consumers feel inclusive? Will it be a fresh perspective that the cubicle-prone copywriter has not seen? Let’s wait and see.
With other UGC, the uploaded stuff goes through the scanner in terms of appropriateness. In India, Brands like Bingo, Indica Xeta have also made efforts to engage consumers into creating ads – albeit for the net. Sign of things to come when talking to the youth?
I can’t wait to actually drive one of these. I keep bugging the salespeople at my local dealership about the Cube. I’m not sure it will go over well here but I like it.