Mimics Nike Swoosh: Inifiniti artfully launches M series

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Look! Up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane ... it's Infiniti?

Nissan North America's luxury division is taking a page from the Nike's swoosh, creating a graphic comprised of two orange-toned lines that it will project onto prominently located buildings in major cities to create buzz for its all-new 2006 M sedans.

The graphic resembles a form of Japanese calligraphy called shuji and represents the cars' prominent design profile. The full sedan isn't revealed.

Jan Thompson, VP-marketing at the automaker, called the lines "vibrant brush stokes," saying, they are "kind of like the [swoosh] is to Nike." The graphic will be incorporated into upcoming TV and print ads, as well as online ads, direct mail and billboards.

Rob Schwartz, global creative director on Nissan at TBWA, said the shop modeled the design after art direction found in a single print ad for M's sibling model in Japan from Hakuhodo. TBWA found the two simple lines in the designer's section of the big M briefing book.

Projections of the two lines will be seen from dusk to about 11 p.m. on nearly 50 buildings in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles between March 1 and March 15. Infiniti dealers are also planning to use the graphic at their showrooms during the week of Feb. 17 for invitation-only parties unveiling the redone M45 sedan and its added sibling, the M35. Owners who use the automaker's captive finance arm also got a peek at the graphic in an insert in their monthly bills.

Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, handled the integrated campaign, which includes national and spot TV arriving April 1.

big push

Ms. Thompson declined to reveal spending specifics, saying only the M's blitz will equal Infiniti's 2002 launch of the G35 sedan and coupe-the brand's biggest ever. Infiniti spent $80 million in measured media on G35 during its launch year, 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. From January through September 2004, the marketer spent $138 million on all its models, CMR reports.

"This new M gives us the ability to be a serious player in the critical $40,000-plus luxury segment," said Mark Igo, VP-general manager of Infiniti Division. "It takes us to the next level, building on the success of the G35 and offering our G owners a place to move up within Infiniti as their needs and income grow."

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