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Tiida loses its sexy sizzle

Nissan ends its Sex and the City campaign as Tiida scores a four-star crash rating

25 Aug 2006

THE sizzle has gone out of Nissan’s Sex and the City advertising campaign.

Nissan Australia’s marketing general manager Ross Booth has revealed the company has dropped the saucy advertisements featuring actress Kim Cattrall, claming the campaign had run its course and achieved its aims in raising awareness of the new Tiida small car.

Mr Booth told GoAuto that he did not believe the advertising campaign had alienated prospective buyers of the Pulsar replacement, which has struggled since its launch last January and last week forced a price cut of up to $2250 off its recommended retail price.

He admitted the Sex and the City campaign was "definitely polarising" but had no regrets. "The objective was for people to remember the Tiida name," he said. "However, the launch phase is now over and we’re in the retail campaign.

"Whether we go back to Kim Cattrall is still questionable – we probably won’t."Back in May, Nissan remained committed to the campaign and said there were no plans to change it. Last week Mr Booth said the retail campaign for the car would now go in "a different direction", although he would not reveal exactly where.

Defending the Cattrall campaign, he said the Tiida had struggled, in part, because of its unfamiliar name and the fact that retail buyers were unsure where the car fitted into the Nissan line-up, particularly after the spectacularly long run of the Pulsar name.

As a result, Nissan is now referring to the Pulsar as well as Tiida in advertising to draw a bridge between the two nameplates. This contradicts Nissan’s own initial research that showed it would not be necessary to refer to the Pulsar nameplate.

"But we weren’t getting traction, so we started to refer to it as the Pulsar replacement," Mr Booth said. "When we did the original research it didn’t come through that it would be an issue.

"The Sex and the City campaign was cut-through and different. We wanted people to recognise the car and they did," he said, adding that the Tiida name was the number one brand search on the Nissan website.

Year to date Nissan has sold 5538 Tiidas, compared to the Pulsar’s 10,417 for the same period last year.

Apart from the Tiida missing the market, Mr Booth admitted that the original Murano campaign had struggled initially but had now started to gain penetration with fresh advertising campaigns.

Mr Booth said that the issues with Murano and Tiida had highlighted problems with the company’s marketing research on both cars. As a result, Nissan has now appointed a research manager.

"We have also altered who we use for our research companies," he said.

Nissan currently uses five or six research companies, including global research company Synovate, which is used in many Nissan markets.

Until recently, Murano sales have struggled, with 186 sold last month, bringing the year-to-date sales to 1322.

A new television ad campaign has helped lift sales but Mr Booth warned that even in the SUV-loving United States, it took 12 months for the Murano to get traction.

"When we launched with the Murano campaign we did, it did cause some confusion out there with the advertising we used," he said. "We had a lot of people saying it was a small car ... so we went to the current campaign in February – a TV campaign that had the car morphing from a Patrol, which helped show the size of the car."Nissan also changed the Murano marketing strategy to be more event-focused, pitching the car at shopping centres and airports.

Tiida achieves a four-star NCAP score and prompts call for curtain airbags
HARD on the heels of Nissan Australia’s "fully loaded" campaign announced last week for its Tiida small car was news that the Pulsar replacement had achieved a four-star independent crash-test rating.

Part of the latest results from the Australian New Car Crash Assessment Program (ANCAP), the rating was one star ahead of the previous Pulsar and has prompted ANCAP to urge manufacturers to include side curtain airbags as standard equipment.

As part of Nissan’s "fully loaded" program, the Tiida ST-L has become the only small car priced below $20,000 to come with standard side curtain airbags.

In other results, the Volkswagen Passat managed a four-star rating, just missing out on five stars because it did not have a seatbelt reminder warning light. Although the Passat is sold in Europe with the seatbelt reminder, helping it achieve a Euro NCAP five-star rating, local cars miss out.

12 center imageAccording to the RACV, which is an ANAP partner, research showed that almost a third of drivers killed or seriously injured in accidents were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Volkswagen Australia is understood to be requesting that the sensor now be built into future Passat models.

In other results, the Toyota Yaris (with dual front airbags) received four stars, one star behind the European model which features dual front, side and curtain airbags.

The new Citroen C6 became the first car to receive the maximum four-star pedestrian rating and five-star crash rating, while the Fiat Punto received five stars, Hyundai Tucson four stars and Toyota HiAce van three stars.

Meanwhile, the Hyundai Santa Fe last week scored the top crash safety rating of "good" in the latest US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 64km/h frontal offset crash test, conducted at the same speed as ANCAP testing.

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