Marketing 50

Z Series

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The Z sports car is the soul of Nissan North America's Nissan brand. So the marketer wanted to ensure that the return of the Z after a six-year hiatus was a success. Nissan adopted the global "Shift" approach as part of a revitalization plan, encouraging staff in all parts of Nissan to rethink the way business is done.

All Z ads were b&w. In an unusual move, only stills of the sports car were used in TV spots by Omnicom Group's TBWA/ Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. The car isn't in motion because "we wanted to capture the incredible power of the design," says Steven Wilhite, 51-year-old VP-marketing at Nissan North America, who has held marketing jobs at such design-centric companies as Volkswagen of America and Apple Computer.

TBWA/Chiat/Day (coincidentally Apple's longtime agency) created Internet banner ads for the 350Z six months before it went on sale. In the first 30 days, 50,000 people clicked onto the banner ads, picked a color and printed it. Nissan had 75,000-plus pre-orders before it went on sale, many customers ordering the Z after having only seen photos of it.

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