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As Winter Nears, Infiniti Touts Its G35 As Car For All Seasons

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The Infiniti G35 has become the bread-and-butter nameplate of Nissan's luxury-car division, accounting for almost 80 percent of its non-SUV sales, according to the company. Now, as winter approaches and selling year-round becomes more crucial to dealers' success, the automaker and its agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, are hoping to give the model a boost with a new, season-sensitive campaign running in regional markets.

The Omnicom Group shop's effort breaks this week with two TV spots suited for local cable and spot buys in Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Detroit, among others. A third spot for the all-wheel-drive vehicle is tailored for cities in more southerly states.

"Our main thinking with the all-wheel-drive spots is to give those regional dealers something to run in the snow markets," said Jack Fund, a creative director at TBWA\C\D in Playa del Rey, Calif. "All car sales tend to be sluggish in the winter, but as a season it has seen significant growth in importance. These spots can be a major tool for Infiniti dealers—something they can use more tactically."

The spots use split screens, which Fund said tie them to the shop's national campaign and give them a cinematic feel. In "Best of Both Worlds," a woman gets into her Infiniti FX35 and a man into his G35x sedan from separate houses in a wintry-plains hinterland. A top-and-bottom split screen shows them traveling in different directions over snow-covered roads that spill out to the same cleared highway. The cars meet and start in different directions before suddenly backing up to check each other out. A voiceover describes Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive as "for all-wheel-drive traction when you need it and rear-wheel-drive handling when you don't."

In the other spot intended for chilly climes, a man drops his girlfriend off at the foot of a mountain for skiing. Then, realizing she has forgotten her cap, he drives up the side of the slope to deliver it personally to her at the top.

"Elevator," a spot destined for cities in Texas, Florida and California, shows an attractive woman in an oceanside high-rise primping for a date as her suitor wends his way to her door in one part of the split screen.

Previous regional G35 spots were more "traditional and rational—commercials showing sheet metal with accolades," said Fund.

G35 unit sales in total were up approximately 15 percent to about 30,000 in the first half of this year—more than half of all Infiniti vehicles, including SUVs, according to Car Concepts in Thousand Oaks, Calif. During the same period, its competitors experienced significant drops: The BMW 3-Series, No. 1 in the luxury-imports category, fell 7 percent to about 55,000 units from the same period last year; and the Audi A4 was down about 7 percent to approximately 23,000, per Car Concepts.

"The G35 is still selling very well and is very important to them," said Todd Turner, principal analyst at Car Concepts. "Intelligent All-Wheel Drive allows them to broaden their reach and convince people that they can have the rear-wheel-drive performance without getting stranded."

Spending was undisclosed. The Infiniti division of Nissan North America in Gardena, Calif., spent $60 million on advertising for the G35 last year and $35 million through July, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.