Infiniti revamps its ads in advance of I30 debut

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When Infiniti spends $50 million to launch its redesigned I30 sedan in September, it wants to have its act together.

So the Nissan North America luxury division and agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., have revamped the look and feel of ads breaking today for its Q45 flagship sedan and the QX4 sport-utility vehicle.

Keeping the "Own one and you'll understand" tagline, the new 30-second TV spots feature New Age-sounding music by British pop singer Annie Lennox and pitch Infiniti's technological prowess.

RESTATING ITS IMAGE

In "Monoframe," the QX4's welded body falls through the sky to be transformed into a finished vehicle as it lands, touting the vehicle's solid ride. "Flower" shows a blossom opening in the illumination of the Q45's xenon headlights.

Tom Orbe, Infiniti VP-general manager, said the division, which has lagged rival Lexus in sales, needed to restate its image before the I30 effort. The look and musical signature of the new ads will carry through to the I30 launch.

"We wanted to make sure that we had a very solid foundation to build on," Mr. Orbe said.

Characterizing the new effort as "crisp, clever, enjoyable and not in your face," Mr. Orbe said it will include print ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and several business publications.

`AGGRESSIVE' SPENDING

Ad budgets will be "pretty aggressive" as Infiniti seeks to break the 100,000-unit annual sale barrier within five years, Mr. Orbe said.

Infiniti will have a hard time reaching the 100,000-unit level, said Jeff Schuster, manager for forecasting and product planning at consultancy J.D. Power & Associates.

"For them to reach that, they really do have to bring in new vehicles," Mr. Schuster said. "I don't think they can make that with the current lineup."

Last year, the division's sales dipped 2.9% to 63,649, but are up 21.8% to 26,162 in the first five months of this year, according to Automotive News.

Despite last year's performance, Nissan officials earlier this year reaffirmed support for the division, saying they needed to bolster Infiniti to remain in the U.S. luxury market.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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