TBWA Chiat/Day Pulls Out All Stops For $100 Mil. Nissan Altima Launch

By Michael McCarthy and David Kiley

NEW YORK–TBWA Chiat/Day will use everything from Johnny Cash singing a ’70s sitcom theme to ‘Kilroy was here’-type outdoor ads in a new $100 million campaign for Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A.’s Altima sedan.

The agency will use the line ‘Have You Seen It?’ in teaser ads to drum up interest in the car, which goes on sale July 10.

‘I think we’re poised to have the most successful launch in Nissan’s history,’ said Rob Siltanen, 33, the creative director of the agency’s Venice, Calif., office who oversaw the campaign with chief creative officer Lee Clow.

The campaign breaks this week with outdoor ads in which Nissan icon Mr. K and his dog are shown peering over the tops of billboards sporting the words ‘Have You Seen It?’

Three 15-second TV teaser spots follow in mid-July, featuring Mr. K standing in a field with a sign that asks, ‘Have You Seen It?’ The payoff comes with a Field of Dreams takeoff called ‘Tour Bus,’ in which busloads of tourists journey to behold the Altima, the first all-new model in five years.

The tongue-in-cheek approach continues in other TV spots such as ‘Witness Protection,’ in which a person seeking anonymity is mobbed in his government-provided Altima. As a crowd surrounds the witness in his car, one marshall asks, ‘He’s not going to make it, is he?’ All the spots end with Mr. K unfolding his sign, and the tagline: ‘The new Altima. Enjoy the ride.’

Another ad shows Johnny Cash leading Nissan plant workers in a rendition of the theme song from Laverne & Shirley.

It is ‘the most comprehensive (campaign) in the company’s history,’ said Nissan vice president of advertising Tom Orbe. ‘You won’t be able to escape it.’

The stakes are high. While the shop’s Altima launch in 1992 was one of the most successful new car launches in history, sources said lackluster sales for the new model may mean major changes in the ‘Enjoy the Ride’ campaign.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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