Nissan wants to be seen as technology brand, marketing director says

Brand is launching Qashqai campaign to promote autonomous driving tech in UK.

Nissan: ProPilot had limited launch last year
Nissan: ProPilot had limited launch last year

Nissan Qashqai is launching a £3m integrated campaign to promote its semi-autonomous driving technology in the UK.

The campaign, created by TBWA\London, features a skateboarding astronaut as a metaphor for how its semi-autonomous driving system, called ProPilot, gives drivers "a sense of freedom, precision and control", with the strapline: "Tech that moves."

ProPilot helps to maintain vehicle-to-vehicle distance within a preset speed range and helps assist with steering, brakes and acceleration to keep the car in the middle of the driving lane, according to Nissan. Nicolas Verneuil, Nissan marketing director, told Campaign he was keen for the brand to be "perceived increasingly as a technology brand".

The technology has been fitted on 350,000 Nissan vehicles globally. It was first introduced on a limited number of Qashqai models in the UK last year and will now be rolled out more widely.

Following a scandal involving allegations of misconduct made about former chairman Carlos Ghosn – claims that Ghosn denies – Nissan has been battling reputational challenges globally. Driverless technology in the US has also faced criticisms after an autonomous Uber car hit and killed a woman in Arizona last year.

Verneuil acknowledged that there is a "perception" among some consumers that driverless cars are not fail-safe, but said those concerns aren’t relevant to the semi-autonomous ProPilot technology, "where the driver remains in control" of the vehicle at all times.

"Because the technology really is about providing a sense of precision, control and safety, it does strike a chord in particular with parents and families," Verneuil explained.  

The ad campaign was created by Scott Andrews and Leigh Gilbert, while TBWA\London is also the production company. Manning Gottlieb OMD is the media agency.

It will launch on TV on 28 June across Channel 4, ITV and Sky, with teasers across social media in the lead-up to the TV roll-out. Cinema executions will include an immersive "4DX" experience.  

"The touchpoints in the campaign are family touchpoints and experiences – including movie screenings and large blockbuster introductions like Toy Story. We’re also looking at further opportunities throughout the summer, such as family festivals," Verneuil added.

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