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Nissan 350Z APG Award Paper 7th April 2005 1

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Th e la unc h o f t he N iss an 350Z sh ows t he re is mor e to I nte ra ct ive T V t ha n m eets t he i Pre pa re d by M ar k B row n, We ap on7 Ca te go r y - N ew B ra nd

Word Count: 1871 + Summary

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Su mma r y
When a new technology creates a new medium it takes the creative industry some time to catch up with the opportunities that the medium creates. Digital interactive TV (DiTV) presents advertisers with a rich and powerful medium. However, today within the advertising industry, it is considered a bolt on to the TV idea. As a result many of the current examples are underwhelming. This paper demonstrates that planning has a vital role to play in unlocking the full potential of this media. This digital medium requires us to consider the media, the consumer and the idea at the same time. Planning replaced the traditional ‘creative team’ with a team made up of a planner and creative to place strategy at the heart of the creative process. However, the real planning challenge was to reconcile what at first appeared to be impossible tasks. Selling cars to sports car buyers and using the same campaign to encourage family car buyers to reappraise the new Nissan brand and range. Getting it wrong could undermine the whole TV campaign but in understanding and utilising the potential of DiTV we were able to pull it off.

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As our TV’s turn digital… Digital TV is that thing that lots of people have talked about, talked up, talked down and talked around. It is a medium which generates a mixed range of responses varying from ‘You must be mad. Why would anybody want to waste their time watching more advertising?’ to ‘This could put us all out of a job’. As TV becomes digital, it brings with it a whole new set of creative challenges and opportunities. Encouraging people to interact with TV advertising via their handset provides one such opportunity and challenge. A much misunderstood media Interactive TV advertising is misunderstood by a great deal of the communications industry. It is often seen as a bolt on ‘which gets in the way of my ad.’ It is used primarily as a vehicle for capturing data and delivering brochures. The automotive and financial services sectors dominate its use because they know it can deliver a strong ROI for high ticket items. Weapon7 are pioneers in the use of the medium as a brand building tool. Since 2001, Weapon7 have been producing creative work (adidas, Honda Cog, Robbie Williams) which changed the way that the medium was perceived. In November 2003, Weapon7 adopted the planning discipline recognising that in order to continue pushing the creative boundaries of this medium, a good strategic foundation would be needed. Teaming up Creative and Planning in pairs is an ideal structure for a medium where strategy, media and creative are so intertwined. The Nissan 350z brief was the first time that traditional strategic planning had a demonstrable effect on an interactive TV campaign. The self editing consumer (is King) As we move away from relying on traditional media and increasingly embrace digital and real world channels, planning needs to do more. In traditional advertising, as media has become separated from creative, there has been a tendency to forget that the medium is as important as the message. We need to ensure that the context in which any communication is consumed is fully understood. Get it right and the medium is incredibly powerful. Get it wrong

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and the self editing consumer will switch off the message. Interactive TV is a place where the media strategy and creative strategy have to work hand in hand. Planning therefore needs to understand what media is being used, how it will be consumed and what creative approach will most effectively achieve the communication objectives. This is a story of how planning went about it for the launch of the 350Z

Context

Creative

Planning
Reconciling the irreconcilable The 350z is a class act. It is a real grown up sports car wowing journalists and drivers in equal measure. The Nissan brand had historically suffered from a poor image. This was an opportunity for people to re-asses ‘The new Nissan’ and ‘Shift Expectations’. The client brief identified two distinct target audiences; the sports car and the conquest audience. We wanted them to think: Sports car drivers: "The Nissan 350z is a proper sports car. I can really have one without breaking the bank. I really want for one my next purchase" Overall Conquest audience: "Wow - hasn't the Nissan range changed! I would consider one in my next car purchase" These are very different groups with quite different needs. What works for one won’t work for the other. At face value, one solution will almost certainly not fit all.

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We undertook an exploration of DiTV advertising within the automotive sector and followed this up with a study to determine how to get the most of the medium. Underwhelming expectations and the vocal minority Our first task was to understand what people expect from automotive interactive advertising thus groups of automotive interactors were recruited to undertake an exploration. What we learnt was that expectations were fairly mixed. For many people the role of the red button was to give them the opportunity to order a brochure or book a test drive. However, there were a vocal minority who felt differently. They had a sense that whatever happened after they pressed the red button should give them a stronger sense of the brand, what it stood for and what it could do for them. The majority of the advertising in the sector was fairly disjointed from the TV ad. The ‘vocals’ felt that this approach was somehow ‘dishonest’. They had been interested in the ad and what it had to say (rationally or emotionally); they had been asked to give their time to see more and had then been given a highly unsatisfactory experience. The interest they had shown had not been returned upon. We labeled this ‘Return on Interest’. Moving up a gear In order to define how the medium worked we had to cast our net wider. We undertook depth interviews with interactors and non interactors and reviewed a breadth of creative work. What we found was that people were very willing to spend time interacting with advertising provided that a number of conditions were met. 1) We found that the iTV application must have a connection to the broadcast ad. This could be through the content, messaging or tonal but the viewer must be able to understand that there is a link. They don’t see it as two different mediums, just two sides of the same coin. 2) Perhaps most importantly, the expectation that is created by the trigger icon must be met. The broadcast ads work with the trigger icon to create an expectation of what the viewer will experience on pressing red. What happens next must deliver on that expectation. Only if it does will the viewer bother to stay

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engaged with the ad. If it doesn’t deliver on their expectation then they will leave within seconds. 3) Provided you have delivered on their expectations, you must add to their knowledge of the brand. This can be done rationally or emotionally but there must be a sense that the viewer gained something from interacting. We believe this is down to the fact that viewers are engaged in a ‘high attention’ mode. They are also likely to view the ad only once so they feel that it should have an effect on a single viewing. However it was clear that DiTV could be a very powerful brand building medium providing people with a rich experience for a longer period of time than traditional interruptive advertising. With these learnings in mind we went on to tackle the brief. What was clear was that the last thing we should do is to engage viewers with sexy advertising, tempt them to press the red button and then present them with a Micra. We had to find a way delivering the right experience to the right audience without reducing our impact on either. Getting it wrong runs the risk of not only falling short of the objectives but of undermining the whole TV campaign. Briefing, what briefing? As an emerging media channel, DiTV advertising gives us the opportunity to invent a new approach. It is a space where media, creative and therefore strategy have to work hand in hand. For this reason, Planning & Creative at Weapon7 have been teamed up to jointly own the process from strategy, through concept development, through to execution. This leads to an iterative process which removes the need for a formal written brief. However, planning did identify the key strategic issues and created a platform for creative development. The creative platform Look at New Nissan through the lens of Z-Ness Considerations These two distinct audiences will effectively want two different brand experiences. Audience one, the ‘Petrol Heads’, will want as pure a sports car experience as possible. Audience two, the ‘Family Man’, will want a broader experience which incorporates other models in the range. In addition there will be a diverse programming strategy incorporating a good deal of sport for audience

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one and drama for audience two. We could use different trigger icons to appeal more strongly to the audiences in specific programming environments. What is the tone and style of the other advertising? The TV advertising is car porn. It teases the viewer with fleeting images of the car in stylish black and white. ‘Petrol Head’ meets ‘Family Man’ in a world of Z-Ness The creative solution used a combination of video and text-based rational information. Three trigger icons were developed based on language used around the brand in other communication channels: ‘For an award winning sports performance press red’ appeared in sports programming. ‘Lust, Love, Desire, Obsession.’ ran in drama. ‘Press red now. Ask forgiveness later’ ran everywhere else. Our approach to designing the triggers was to continue the teasing aspect of the TV and intrigue people enough to press red. As viewers enter the application they are presented with a loading screen displaying a quote from Top Gear magazine immediately showing that the car is well liked by independent commentators. The application itself starts with the viewer watching some video of the 350Z being driven. This footage presents the car and some of its features in an intriguing and slightly teasing way. Copy bites simultaneously rotate at the top of the screen revealing more journalist quotes, pricing and performance figures. For the conquest audience there is a second video which can be selected by pressing the left arrow. This is in a similar style to the first and again works with quotes, pricing and performance copy bites at the top of the screen. However this video allows viewers to see the Micra and X-Trail in the same light of Z-Ness. ‘Press blue now: ask forgiveness later.’ was the call to action for people wanting more information. On pressing blue they were presented with a URL, call centre number and an option to order brochures for all three models there and then.

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So what happened? Post evaluative research was undertaken by 2CV. It showed that the experience was very well received and that viewers did indeed select the content that was appropriate to their core car needs, i.e. sports car buyers forgave the presence of the Micra and X-Trail but family car buyers were shown that there was a model for them. Tracking research undertaken by Continental Research showed that 316,000 people interacted. 4872 viewers went on to order a brochure. Brand scorecard measures increased up to 70% amongst interactors compared to those who just saw the TV ad. Brand purchase consideration also increased by 52%. Nissan went on to sell 23 cars to leads generated by the DiTV worth £598,000 at retail. The short story There were a number of benefits that planning brought to this brief. Primarily this ill-disciplined medium was treated with the same rigor as any other creative medium. The knowledge of how people perceived and consumed the medium meant that a far stronger and effective creative product was produced. Having defined the role and objectives for the medium, planning then went on to track and evaluate the creative work against previously agreed objectives. Most importantly, planning helped to find a way of reconciling two irreconcilable tasks. In short planning helped to create a level of confidence which meant that the client bought a creative solution which the Creative Director could be proud of.

Weapon7 reserves all rights in the following interactive TV concepts, designs elements and layouts. None of the concepts or treatments may be used or adapted without our prior written consent.