Story, Niche and Transmedia: How Infiniti fortified their brand with content marketing

We all remember those choose-your-adventure stories from grade school. Where at certain points in a novel, the reader can choose to decide the next series of events by either skipping a few pages ahead or continue to the next page to experience the narrative they want. Nowadays, this has been applied on YouTube from an audience point of view. But what if you became part of the story? As a character, speaking to the other characters and helping decide the next part?

Recently, Nissan’s luxury vehicle division, Infiniti, has recently launched a transmedia campaign on their website. From the filmmakers of the “Blair Witch Project“, visitors watch a 3 part film and are called by phone by the characters in the story in real time to help decide the next part of the story. A visitor would provide their phone number before the film plays to get started. It begins with two characters whom have lost memory of who they are and where they are, but find your number on their call history and contact you to get ideas as to what is going on. Yet you are clueless as they are but you either suggest they turn back or keep driving forward and now we have our premise.

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Of course we are reminded that this is an elaborate car advertisement for the new 2014 Q50, as these two protagonists are fully shown using all the different components that the vehicle’s compartment has to offer while cutting back and forth to exterior body shots of the Q50 cruising behind a dessert sunset. Not to give any spoilers of it’s ending but it seems that Infiniti wanted to showcase the 2014 Q50 as a car for the adventurer driver that is more drawn to discovering where the open free road will take them, but still keeping the luxury aspect. Almost like saying, “This is the kind of vacation road trip James Bond would do… now you can with the Q50”.

What Infiniti was able to accomplish here was develop a Niche strategy that would attract prospective Q50 owners to have the qualities that this film displayed into their own life. With a compelling pitch in the narrative, Infiniti cleverly used internet marketing to make the selling experience direct and personal for the viewer. This all reminds me and corresponds of the topic to a Marketaire article by Brett Prince, in how companies can find a niche that can improve their web marketing to their favor.

Infiniti may not have known about Prince’s article, but if you have watched the “Deja Vu” trailer or already have participated in its entire film, it seems indicative that Infiniti was on the same frame of mind in developing this campaign.

There are three parts that Prince discusses in how you can develop “the perfect Niche strategy” for your internet marketing. He first talks about keywords are only a tactic that will facilitate the business method but are not the overall foundation of your business plan. So instead, Prince suggests the reader utilize his “777 Niche” idea, in which one must think of: 7 “passions” that you want to engage about with your market, 7 “problems” you think your market is aware of having that can be answered by your product or service, and 7 “fears” your market as individuals would not share with friends and family. Now that you have 21 possible niches, you eliminate each one by one that don’t seem to express what you want to do and work with what is left on the list. It seems that for Infiniti, a lot of what they ended up using if they had utilize this idea, would be Passion and some Fear niches that would help finalize the approach of the interactive film. They want to showcase excitement and adventure but also answer to the fear of the unknown and lack of control.

After the “777” method comes the “Rip, Pivot & Jam” idea which can also work as a tactic all on its own. Here Infiniti would have to have done research on its competitive luxury brand automakers in order to realize a perspective and awareness that can leverage them into an “unfair advantage” and attempt to be in the forefront of the luxury vehicle industry.

In the first step, Rip, which is short for “rip-off”, Infiniti would consider taking or copying the best practices that their competition is doing right, from what Infiniti would find in their research. I would say that the imagery or persona that comes with luxury car advertising is present for this Rip idea. The second step, “Pivot”, Infiniti would consider what services of factors their competition seems to be lacking or failing in and picking it up into their own business plan. I won’t go into details but it seems that Infiniti does answer to this tactic in how features and attractions about the Q50 were displayed throughout the “Deja Vu” interactive film. The final step, “Jam”, is just another way of saying to stop researching and start creating with what you’ve put together. “Sometimes the solution does not exist within the market, so…build it!” Infiniti did create something that I don’t think comes to mind when it comes to advertising luxury cars. Usually this type of vehicles have pretty straight forward and simplistic approach in selling to their market. Probably because they’re research hows that the typical customer doesn’t demand it. Yet I think Infiniti is trying to attract a demographic that is outside their safe range, which brings me to my final thought.

When we do see a vehicle advertisement, what is common among high budget and heavily cultured campaigns are used for sport, recreational and affordable cars that would attract a younger demographic, which naturally nowadays, are more drawn to digital media and staying current to technological progressions. Why would a luxury vehicle brand be spending this kind of attention for a market that is more in line in not integrating technology into their lives? It’s only by my first assumption that Infiniti want to now sell to a younger crowd. As a matter a fact, I found about this campaign through a tweet I read from Variety magazine not long ago. Then again, my theory could be part of the answer an not all of it. I stepped back and remembered that Variety is an entertainment industry magazine that is commonly read among individuals like studio executives, managers and production personnel who would do integrate digital media and technology into than the rest of the country that belong to the same age and income range for luxury cars.  I conclude that Infiniti has given a new impression onto itself to millennials and reintroduced itself to its traditional customers in a commendable way. As long as advertisers are able to make the “advertisement” invisible in a project, I look forward to how future campaigns will incorporate this interaction to make the customer become part of a story.

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