Launch of new Nissan model takes social media marketing to new heights

LONDON - Nissan is launching its social media-themed new car, the Cube, in the US with a ramped-up social media marketing campaign.

The campaign promoting the quirkly-shaped Cube, set to arrive in US car dealerships next month, will encourage audiences to send a text message to a shortcode number in order to access a mobile hub with downloadable wallpapers, videos, music, ringtones and an iPhone application.

The Japanese car maker modelled the Cube as a mobile lifestyle car, on a parallel with Twitter and Facebook. "We envision owners using their Cubes as one of their essential mobile devices, connecting with friends, sharing music and sharing fun," Nissan said in a statement.

Nissan is the latest car maker to use social networking to sell their cars, and including Ford and Honda, whose microsite allows people to virtually drive new hybrid model Insight.

But the Cube is the first car model influenced by social media in its design, having a tall, narrow, boxy shape and lots of interior space which Nissan describes a socially oriented lounge-style interior.

The Cube iPhone ‘Cube Party Roundup’ application, scheduled for June launch, will allow up to eight players to join in on the mission-based app that simulates driving the Cube on the way to a party. Also in June, Nissan will launch a Facebook Cube Party Roundup that will allow users to tell their friends about upcoming events.

The Cube Mobile Hub site is an interactive information center for Cube owners and enthusiasts.

There has been mixed reaction to the Cube's shape and look. One magazine described the Cube’s design as "so cartoonish it's clearly evident the look didn't originate with designers in America".