Chiat/Day Courts "Tuners" with Anime Short

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Last night in Los Angeles, TBWA/Chiat/Day threw a party at its Playa Del Rey offices to unveil Master of the Sixth Speed, a four-minute anime short promoting Nissan's 2002 SE-R/Spec V. The new model is a version of the Sentra aimed at performance compact entusiasts, or so-called "tuners," a growing car subculture based around customizing Japanese imports like the Honda Civic and Acura Integra. The short features a high-speed chase in the SE-R to recover stolen specs for the new model. Beginning next week, almost a million CD-ROMs including the film, backstory and specs for the SE-R will be distributed via various niche publications.

"Our task was to not just come in here and say here's the car for you tuner guys," says Chiat ECD Rob Schwartz. "We wanted to have something that was a little more gentle, a little more of a discovery campaign." The film and car have been teased in print for several months with anime-style ads and a kanji tag that translates into the message, "Introducing the serious energy racer with Nissan performance." "This work shouldn't alienate anybody," Schwartz says. "But I think where it succeeds for the niche guys is that it's not only true to what they know about Japan and Japanese culture, but it's also very cool." And the film comes to an ambiguous conclusion with the specs still in the wrong hands, leaving plenty of room for a sequel.

Additional agency credits to co-CD Chris Graves, art director Bill Hornstein and copywriter Michael Collado. Production credits to animation houses Vinton Studios and Celluoid Studios, to Rhythm & Hues for compositing, and to Stimmung Sound for sound design.

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