TBWA\C\D Draws the Lines of Infiniti

LOS ANGELES Five new television commercials for Infiniti, including a 60-second brand spot, broke this week from Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day here, according to the agency.

The 60-second brand spot (“Red Line”) and the 30-second version show an artist mixing red paint from powder, then performing a broom-size brush stroke that profiles the vehicle. The stroke is hoisted on a white canvas as silks fall around an Infiniti.

The model spots that follow in 30-second versions all include artist’s lines meant to match to the vehicles outlines, either in chalk, water or paint, and suggest the origin of the cars designs. Creative director Dennis Lim said the concept originated from watching Nissan’s design chief Shiro Nakamura work on glass.

In a spot for the G35 sedan (“Water”), a vehicle passes through a wall of water as the voiceover says, “Behold, the shape of performance.” A QX56 ad (“Silks”) envelops a gray SUV in undulating red silk, which drops away to reveal the vehicle. Voiceover copy includes, “Polished, not glaring. Designed, not decorated.” A FX spot (“Line”) shows how the vehicle crosses the line between sports car and SUV. The narrator calls it “a refined, tailored reward.” Another G35 spot (“Brush Strokes”) sees the car as if it’s creating a brush stroke on the road.

The brand spot, directed by the artist Tarsem, introduces the literal and figurative “a line has been drawn” to the lexicon of Infiniti’s communication, reminiscent of Nissan’s “a shift has been made.” Lim, however, said it should not be considered a new tagline. “We’re still deciding if we want [a tagline] at all,” he said. “It’s sometimes in the commercials, and sometimes not.”

The commercials represent one of the first full campaigns under the direction of Lim, who was brought in by executive creative director Rob Schwartz from Publicis Groupe’s Hal Riney & Partners in April to lead Infiniti.

“It is all predicated on something basic to Infiniti, vibrant design,” said Lim. “For example, ‘Designed, not decorated,’ came from the designers at Infiniti. The wording, the voice, many of the terms we use in the campaign come directly from the [Infiniti] designers. In some ways it’s their manifesto.”

Lim said the campaign is “based on the psychology of the luxury item buyer, who doesn’t randomly pick up a watch or camera because it is nice, but usually because there’s a story behind it.” He said that “one of the principles is mystery-the cool value in luxury items. Instantly showing everything can be too brash. Adding a little mystery gives you what the designers call ‘seductive luster.’ [Mystery] is intended to create allure.”

“I think it’s a good start,” said Lim, summarizing the campaign. “It’s a lot different than what’s out there now. We’re starting to get the word out that we’re about design. Now it’s about making it all better.”

Gardena, Calif.-based Nissan spent $210 million on Infiniti in 2004 and $130 million through July 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.