The luxury carmaker started distributing four million computer discs co-developed with Excite, to promote next April's launch of the redesigned 2002-model Q45 sedan. The CD was handed out free to race fans at the Excite 500 Indy event at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas.
The CD contains five video snippets of Infiniti-sponsored driver Eddie Cheever Jr. at the Q45 factory and test track in Japan discussing the car's evolution. The disc also offers free Internet access via Excite. Users can request more car information from Infiniti via e-mail, phone or mail. Excite created a custom Web site at infiniti.excite.com as part of a three-year alliance announced last May.
Infiniti's ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Ray, Calif., and The Designory, Los Angeles, developed a supporting site at thenewq.com, which will continue to add more information on the car in the months leading to its launch. TBWA also created a print ad in November car enthusiast books.
The CDs will also be included in an upcoming direct mail drop, in an insert in January magazines and available at Infiniti dealerships, said Steve Sammons, manager of the Infiniti model line. A second CD will be distributed in February.
He said the promotion will help direct online traffic to the co-branded site and help Excite attract older, more affluent customers.
TARGETING A YOUNGER DRIVER
The upcoming third-generation Q45 has more power, offering 340 horsepower -- a more than 25% improvement over the current model. The average current owner is in their mid-50s, but the new model is targeted to buyers in their late 40s.
Infiniti sold 3,464 of the sedans in the first nine months of 2000 vs. 4,674 units the same period a year ago, Automotive News said.
Tom Healey, a partner at J.D. Power and Associates, said the consultancy's new research shows nearly 40% of European and Japanese luxury car prospects watch or attend some sort of auto racing; 8% of Q45 prospects attend either Indy or Formula One race events; and 29% of prospects watch either or both of those two race series on TV.
"The promotion seems to be on target, but it won't make or break the (Q45's) launch," he said.
Richard Barlow, president of Frequency Marketing, a relationship marketing agency in Cincinnati, said the promotion won't mean much to consumers who don't have computers, but "Excite wouldn't sponsor a race if it didn't think a high percentage of the audience was wired." Overall, he dubbed the promotion a winner for consumers, Infiniti and Excite because it provides benefits to each.