How Nissan thought outside the Amazon box

Internet readers have become fascinated with sightings of very large cardboard boxes from

NASHVILLE -- All according to Nissan's 2013 marketing schemes, the automaker has managed to create a viral buzz about the launch of its Versa Note.

Internet readers have become fascinated with images of very large cardboard boxes from sitting on the back of flatbed delivery trucks -- very large as in "roughly the size of a Versa Note."

That was the plan, as we reported last year. Teaming up with Amazon, Nissan arranged for three Note buyers to get their cars delivered as though it was from Amazon. (But actually by a local Nissan dealer working with Amazon.) The first delivery, in Madison, Wis., caused the buzz.

The whole idea was to have a little fun in an effort to get people buzzing about Nissan, Nissan's then-director of marketing communications and media, Vinay Shahani, told Automotive News last year. Shahani jumped to Volkswagen of America last November where he is vice president of marketing.

The stunt seems to have worked. Automotive News affiliate Advertising Age reports that Reddit has been hot with back-and-forth banter about the Amazon big-box sightings. And comedian Jerry Seinfeld quipped online about the Note deliveries -- not mentioning Nissan, but at least fanning the flame of internet chatter.

Seinfeld speculated that it was all a hoax of some kind.

"This is almost as fake as the Amazon Drone delivery system," he joked to online followers. "But WOW if it was real! ... There's no way it would say Amazon just once on that box."

It was real. Later on Tuesday, Nissan released a photo of a box being unpacked.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at



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