Nissan 'cube' touts Armada

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Nissan North America is using outdoor advertising in a whole new way as it tries to spread the word about its first full-size SUV.

"Out-of-home advertising doesn't mean a billboard," said Jon Cropper, senior manager, youth and urban communications, Nissan. So, as part of the launch of Nissan's Armada, the sport utility vehicle is displayed inside a glass cube marked "Break Glass in Case of Adventure." The cube started a nine-city tour Feb. 7 in New York's Times Square. One was parked outside Staples Center last weekend in Los Angeles to tap into traffic for the NBA All-Star Game.

`emotional reaction'

"This truck is so aggressive, we didn't want to show it in a traditional setting," Mr. Cropper said. "People get to see the vehicle and its size and it creates a much stronger emotional reaction" than a two-dimensional billboard. Three cubes, moved by forklifts, were created for the tour. Each will spend roughly two weeks in one of the cities. Within that period, forklifts will move the cubes every few days to other high-profile sites.

Monthly billboard prices in Times Square can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000, said Donna Baum, assistant media director in the out-of-home unit at Publicis Groupe's Starcom Worldwide. The average rate in Manhattan is $20,000 per month, so a two-week stint would cost roughly $10,000. But most are bought monthly.

Mr. Cropper declined to reveal spending on the integrated campaign from True Agency, Los Angeles, the brand's urban agency, partially owned by Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day.

The theme is carried over into magazine and TV executions. The buy includes titles such as Fader and Vibe. The :30 commercial broke Feb. 9 on national cable and spot TV and will air through April.

Mr. Cropper said the campaign ties strategically with the adventure positioning of Armada and "encourages people to give us a look and quickly get an understanding of Armada."

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