Nissan launching new ad campaign for Leaf as gasoline prices rise

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 1, 2011

Nissan North America plans to push a message of fuel-economy in its national advertising for the next six months, which includes the upside to an electric vehicle that only few retailers have recognized. The company has a compelling mpg story to tell and wants it out quickly, Nissan’s vice president of marketing, Jon Brancheau, said.

He further disclosed that dealers are also eager to get the message out now. The urgency stems from the gasoline prices rising more than $4 a gallon in some markets. Last December, the company introduced Nissan Leaf electric car to the market, but it has been slow to deliver.

By March this year, there were only 500 Leaf units delivered in a few markets. However, the company revealed last month that it will shorten the long waiting time for the car model by half and will start delivering the Leaf units by thousands.

The television advertising initiative will take two paths for the next four to six months, according to Brancheau. One of these ads will feature the Leaf model. In this TV spot, a series of round objects resembling a zero is shown.

These zeros are linked to "zero gasoline." A naked stomach of a very pregnant woman is also shown among the images. This image, according to Brancheau, created an overwhelmingly positive response from female viewers even if it proved polarizing in recent focus groups. The second advertisement, a more direct than the first one, shows a fuel pump sucking on the consumers’ money.

The TV spot will then show the range of the most fuel-efficient Nissan vehicles, including Leaf, as an option instead of spending for high gasoline. This advertisement campaign originated in the company’s new dealer ad association program launched on April 1.

In approximately 150 markets, the company’s dealers are chipping in $150 to $200 per unit in order to increase TV exposure. The spot’s creative work was directed by the national ad team of Brancheau.

The fascia of the new Nissan Leaf is marked by a sharp, upright V-shaped design. This design features long, up-slanting LED headlights with a blue internal reflective design. While these headlights are a simple indication that the new Nissan Leaf is a special vehicle, they also serve to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors for lesser wind noise and drag. Since these headlights employ LED units, their electricity consumption is just around 10 percent of what conventional lamps use up, helping the new Nissan LEAF save more energy for a higher range.

On the other hand, the new Nissan Leaf offers a stylish and pleasing interior, thanks to the use of bright trim colors. For instance, blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination feature a "blue earth" color theme derived from the Aqua Globe body color of first Nissan leaf model. One of the main appeals of the new Nissan Leaf is its exclusive advanced IT system linked to a global data center.

With this setup, this IT system could offer 24-hour support, information, and entertainment. It comes with a dash-mounted monitor that could show the Leaf’s remaining power in the guise of "reachable area" as well as the nearest charging stations where the EV’s power could be replenished. In addition, drivers could use their mobile phones to switch on air-conditioning or to set charging functions - even when the EV is powered down.

Drivers could also be pre-programmed by an on-board remote-controlled timer to recharge batteries. Tooru Abe, Chief Product Specialist, described Nissan Leaf’s IT system as a critical advantage. He noted that this IT system could help Nissan Leaf become a partner for the driver and an enhancement for the passengers as well as create a zero-emission community.

The Japanese carmaker considers Nissan Leaf as a critical first step in creating an era of zero-emission mobility. Nissan, however, acknowledges that internal-combustion engine (ICE) technologies will have a crucial part in global transportation in the next decades. This is why Nissan is carrying out its zero-emission vision using a holistic approach, which entails offering a wide range of eco-friendly technologies consumers could choose from.

While Nissan Leaf could be perfect for some customers, it could also be a new member of an already existing family fleet that could be used for daily trips.

Of course, Nissan’s ultimate goal is achieving zero emission. However, the carmaker has been firm in its commitment to advancements in eco-friendly technologies that could further increase efficiency while reducing emissions. This commitment is evident in the technologies that Nissan is offering like HEV, Clean Diesel, CVT and Idle Stop, as well as an ongoing research in FCV technology.

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