Creativity

Nissan worked backwards to create eye-popping debut ad for the Kicks crossover

Soundtrack fueled the new spot from TBWA/Chiat/Day New York

By E.J. Schultz. Published on Jul 11, 2018

Editor's Pick

When creating the first U.S. ad for the new Kicks subcompact crossover, Nissan and agency TBWA Chiat/Day New York did not start with a script--they went straight to the soundtrack. Working backwards, they hoped the music would inspire a campaign that was emotional and didn't just plug the vehicle's technology.

After listening to "literally hundreds of tracks," says Jeremy Tucker, VP of marketing communications and media at Nissan North America, they selected "Strange" by Louis and the Child. It fueled an eye-popping ad of sophisticated visual effects that highlights the high-tech Bose speakers inside the driver's seat headrest. In the ad, a smooth-moving man builds the crossover auto from thin air. His Bose headphones turn into the speakers and his smart phone the dashboard. Commercials vet and features director Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman," "Ghost in the Shell") directed the spot via MJZ, with choreography from veteran dance pro Fatima Robinson.

The ad, "Flex Your Tech," is a new approach for Nissan. It's long played up its vehicles' tech features, with its "Innovation that Excites" tagline, but Tucker says that "technology for technology's sake can make you very quickly into an appliance ... cold and unemotive. And it can freak out consumers because they feel like they're losing control of the driving experience." Nissan wants its marketing to "be more human," he says.

Kicks, which debuted in South America in 2016, and launched in the U.S. last month, has a starting price of $17,990 and is being targeted at millenials.

The Kicks campaign is supported by TV and digital buys. Last month, Nissan began plugging Kicks as part of its BET Awards sponsorship.

Nissan is pursusing an aggressive marketing push for its major nameplates. Its plans include increasing spending by double digits for the fiscal year that began in April, Tucker says. Coming this fall is a new campaign for the redesigned Altima.

Nissan spent $469 million on measured media last year, according to Kantar Media figures cited by the Ad Age Datacenter.

While Nissan vehicle sales are down 4.3 percent for the year's first six months, the brand posted a 2.5 percent gain in June after selling 134,398 vehicles, according to Automotive News.

TBWA is part of Omnicom's Nissan United team of agencies, which includes Zimmerman Advertising, OMD and multicultural shop fluent360. While TBWA got the lead creative credit on the Kicks ad, Tucker says he continues to rely on an integrated approach in which he wants all shops to pitch in. Zimmerman and TBWA will both take the lead on portions of upcoming campaigns, he says. "There is so much work going on--we have more launches this year than we've ever had since we've been here--that we can't rely on any one [agency] team, it's all of us together," he says.

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Credits

Date
Jul 11, 2018
Client:
Nissan
Agency:
TBWA/Chiat/Day New York
Chief Creative Officer:
Chris Beresford-Hill
Executive Creative Director:
Al Merry
Group Creative Director:
Robert Rutherford
Group Creative Director:
Darren Borrino
Associate Creative Director:
Jexy Holman
Associate Creative Director:
Nuno Teixeira
Group Account Director:
Ben Muldrew
Senior Account Director:
Val Tyll
Account Director:
Peter Whalen
Account Manager:
Natalie Otsuka
Head of Production:
John Doris
Director of Digital Operations:
Tasha Dean
Executive Producer:
Leelee Groome
Producer:
Stephanie Converse
Senior Business Affairs Manager:
Felicia Simmons
Product Integration Manager:
Christian Uka
Production Company:
MJZ
President:
David Zander
Sr. Executive Producer:
Kate Leahy
Director:
Rupert Sanders
Director of Photography:
Jess Hall
Producer:
Natalie Hill
UPM:
Susan Levin
Production Designer:
James Chinlund
Choreographer:
Fatima Robinson
Editorial:
Work Editorial
Editor:
Neil Smith
Assistant Editor:
Theo Mercado
Executive Producer:
Erica Thompson
Producer:
Chris Delarenal
VFX Production:
The Mill
Executive Producer:
Pete King
Senior Producer:
Hillary Thomas
Production Coordinator:
Vanessa Yee
Shoot Supervisor:
Phil Crowe
Shoot Supervisor:
Robert Sethi
Shoot Supervisor:
Shaun Comly
VFX:
The Mill
Creative Director:
Phil Crowe
Creative Director:
Robert Sethi
2D Lead Artist:
Narbeh Mardirossian
3D Lead Artist:
Shaun Comly
2D Artist:
Brad Scott
2D Artist:
Toby Brockhurst
2D Artist:
Christel Hazard
2D Artist:
Krysten Richardson
2D Artist:
Trent Shumway
2D Artist:
Chris Payne
2D Artist:
Benoit Mannequin
2D Artist:
Scott Johnson
2D Artist:
Eric Bruno
2D Artist:
Rob Winfield
2D Artist:
Tara DeMarco
2D Artist:
Edward Black
3D Artist:
Eugene Gauran
3D Artist:
Ed Laag
3D Artist:
Joel Kittle
3D Artist:
Omar Taher
3D Artist:
Peter Claes
3D Artist:
Jae Jun Yi
3D Artist:
Robert Chapman
3D Artist:
Ziming Liu
3D Artist:
Samantha Pedregon
3D Artist:
Walker Kennedy
3D Artist:
Zephyr Mann
3D Artist:
Mahmoud Elragheb
3D Artist:
Michael Lori
3D Artist:
Danny Garcia
3D Artist:
Elizabeth Hammer
3D Artist:
Alice Panek
Matte Painting:
Itai Muller
Animation:
Jacob Bergman
Animation:
Jason Jansky
Animation:
Blake Guest
Animation:
Matt Connolly
Design:
Dave Rogers
Design:
Tizu Tarumyan
Design:
Kyle Moore
Design:
Fred Ross
Color:
The Mill
Colorist:
Fergus McCall
Color Producer:
Rochelle Brown
Sound Mix/Design Company:
Sonic Union
Artist:
Paul Weiss
Artist:
Steve Rosen
Executive Producer:
Justine Cortale
Producer:
Pat Sullivan
Music Supervison:
Chris Holmes
Sound Design:
Stimmung
Sound Design:
Gus Koven
Executive Producer:
Kristina Iwankiw

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