The spoof sport, imagined as a cross between skateboarding and BMX riding for cars, is at the center of an elaborate campaign led by TBWA, London, starting with viral marketing leading consumers to a website.
The Qashqai is designed as an urban car, with features that make it suitable for city driving, such as a tight turning circle, a rearview camera for parking and extra height to handle speed bumps. Nissan is targeting 25- to 35-year-old urban males, and has also taken the campaign offline with a clothing label, team trucks wrapped in Qashqai promotional material and magazines. Print ads break in February and TV spots in March to coincide with the car's actual launch.
Bastien Schupp, general manager-marketing communications for Nissan Europe, said, "We were looking for a way to get a younger, trendy audience to engage with the name Qashqai. Although it can be difficult to control and predict, the online world and its many formats looked like the right platform to reach our target."
TBWA is working to react to and build on consumer feedback by tracking virals, web hits, reviews and blog entries. So far the website (qashqaicargames.com) has gotten around 11 million hits.
Steve Henry, executive creative director of TBWA, London, said, "This is the most exciting part of marketing these days: building websites, seeding virals, starting an online debate."