Nissan's new effort keys into experiential marketing trend

Nissan North America hopes that the door to reaching consumers will come from a set of keys.

Nissan North America hopes that the door to reaching consumers will come from a set of keys.

The New York Times has reported that in order to promote the new push-button ignition system on the 2007 Altima sedan, Nissan is scattering 20,000 key rings in bars, concert halls, sports arenas, and other trendy social gatherings in seven cities.

This experiential marketing campaign, conceived by the True Agency in LA and aided by Vibe magazine and Guerrilla Tactics Marketing, part of Inner City Enterprises, will promote the car's push-button ignition.

One of the tags on the set of keys will note, "If found, please do not return" because the Altima "has Intelligent Key with push-button ignition, and I no longer need these."

"Nissan is making advanced technology accessible. The Intelligent Key is a cool, innovative feature that is difficult to explain in a traditional 30-second commercial or print ad," says Michelle Erwin, Nissan North America marketing communications manager. "True [found] an easy way to explain this to consumers."

Why does it matter?

"Marketers are so interested in experiential marketing because they're so eager to get consumers talking about their products and brands," says Liz Bigham, VP and director of brand marketing for experiential agency Jack Morton Worldwide. "Beyond the impact you can have on those directly participating, that additional impact through word of mouth is so valuable."

Erik Hauser, founder and moderator of the Experiential Marketing Forum, says, "More ad and marketing budgets [have moved] toward the methodology of experiential marketing significantly over the past few years. It's a way to connect on a much deeper, more meaningful, and relevant level."

Five facts:

1. The Times piece notes that an Arbitron survey described bars, bar/restaurants and lounges as "the new out-of-home hot spot for advertisers to reach consumers."

2. Coca-Cola has taken its experiential marketing initiative, setting up red lounges where Coke is served in various cities, to India, according to ibnlive.com.

3. Food and beverages lead the way in experiential marketing preference by product category (28%), with cars and shoes following right behind (both at 27%), according to a Jack Morton experiential marketing survey.

4. The Experiential Marketing Forum shows that 58.6% of respondents said the single most powerful tool in experiential marketing is some sort of live brand experience.

5. A recent experiential marketing campaign includes Subway Fresh Fit, hosted by spokesman LL Cool J, in which Subway awarded audiences for their Random Acts of Fitness with Subway cash cards and Trek bicycles.

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