Nissan fights fuzzy image with tech ads
LOS ANGELES -- Nissan's brand image remains fuzzy to U.S. consumers, but five refreshed products with more standard features should help Americans understand the brand, Nissan executives say.
Nissan North America launched a marketing campaign in April, its most recent effort to rebrand itself as an "innovation" company, while it refreshes five popular Nissan vehicles: the Altima, Sentra, Pathfinder, Rogue and Versa hatchback.
Through November, the five accounted for 62 percent of Nissan North America's sales volume, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
The marketing campaign pitches advanced technology. For instance, in a commercial that demonstrates Nissan's Easy Fill tire alert system, the horn honks when the correct amount of air is pumped into a low tire.
Despite seven months of marketing, the message is "still a little fuzzy," said Jon Brancheau, vice president of Nissan marketing, at the Los Angeles Auto Show two weeks ago.
"The good news is that there's no baggage" associated with the Nissan brand, Brancheau said. "For those not familiar with Nissan, it's a clean slate. We've been at this innovation message for about 18 months, and we know it takes a long time to seed those deep messages."
Nissan wants the advanced features to give customers the feeling that they are purchasing a car in a higher segment.
Brian Carolin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for sales and marketing, said consumers are noticing the added content and considering Nissan vehicles. He cited the launch of the 2013 Altima as an example of how Nissan's innovation message is beginning to resonate.
"We're attracting a more affluent customer with a better credit score," Carolin said, "and we're conquesting more in that segment."
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