Nissan North America is switching gears to convey the emotional experience of driving its Leaf Plus long-range electric car, rather than leaning too heavily on the vehicle's specs, in a new campaign featuring a driver who can fly through the air.
The campaign is the first featuring the Leaf Plus, which debuted at CES in January and began hitting showrooms in recent weeks.
Since the Nissan Leaf launched in 2010, much of the marketing has focused on its features. As the Leaf continues its reign as the top-selling electric vehicle to date, despite sagging sales early this year and competition from the likes of Tesla, it is shifting to more of a storytelling approach.
The latest Leaf ad from TBWA and directed by Daniel Wolfe via Somesuch features a professional wingsuit flyer, Roberta Mancino, who weaves through the air and among high-rise buildings and then finally appears behind the wheel of the car, in scenes meant to suggest the freedom, confidence and power afforded by the vehicle.
“We knew that flying was the analogy that we were going for,” says Allyson Witherspoon, VP, marketing communications and media, Nissan North America. “We wanted it to be really authentic.”
The campaign comes as U.S. sales of Leaf fell without much marketing support. Nissan reported that it sold 951 Leaf vehicles in the U.S. in April, down 18.8 percent from a year earlier. Through April, 3,636 Leaf vehicles were sold in the U.S. this year, down 2.2 percent versus a year earlier. In total, Nissan said it has sold more than 400,000 Leaf vehicles.
The Leaf Plus comes with a 62-kilowatt battery, offering up to 226 miles per charge, compared to the 40-kilowatt battery in the Leaf which provides up to 150 miles per charge.
Short customer testimonial videos highlighting the vehicle’s features, such as one-pedal driving and driver assistance technology, are slated to post on social media.
The campaign is scheduled to run through July, when Nissan will be on site to promote the vehicle during the the Formula E race in Brooklyn.