Nissan Canada announced the winner of the Nissan Innovation Challenge in a 30-minute television show on CityTV Sunday evening. Kelly Ruest, a mother of two from Cornwall, Ontario, pitched her winning advertising idea on Facebook and focused on the themes of innovation and technology, demonstrated through a family road trip. Kelly’s concept has been developed into a 30-second national television spot which premiered yesterday during the Nissan Innovation Challenge episode on CityTV, and will air regularly on conventional and specialty channels across Canada.
“At Nissan, we recognize that now more than ever, advertising is about listening and talking to customers and prospects to best understand their ideas and needs,” says Judy Wheeler, Director of Marketing for Nissan Canada. “Social media was a perfect way for us to accomplish this level of engagement. During this contest, we were delighted to discover just how enthusiastic Canadians are about Nissan’s exciting vehicle line-up, as seen through the thousands of creative responses we received to ‘define innovation’.”
Kelly Ruest’s successful pitch portrayed a Canadian family embarking on a road-trip in a Nissan that makes every stretch of the journey as enjoyable as the destination, effectively eliminating the question, “Are we there yet?” Kelly is set to enjoy many comfortable road trips with her own family in the vehicle she selected as her grand prize, a 2012 Nissan Murano Platinum Edition.
The three-phase contest launched in November of 2011, when Nissan tried a new approach to marketing by pursuing the voice of the consumer to develop the next Nissan commercial. Nissan challenged Canadians to define in 140-characters or less, what innovation means to them. After receiving over eight thousand submissions, the expert panel of judges consisting of executives from Nissan Canada, and two of its agencies, TBWA and Capital C, narrowed it down to 200. The evaluation of the submissions was based on the following criteria: clear/concise communication, emotion, and creativity and originality.
Those 200 semi-finalists then submitted on Facebook, a short, simple video to pitch his or her commercial idea, connecting their representation of ‘innovation’ to a specific Nissan nameplate. The next phase of the contest brought in an expanded panel of judges – Nissan Canada’s thriving Facebook community, which has doubled since the contest announcement and recently surpassed 50,000 likers. Facebook fans then voted on their favourite video to shortlist the entrants down to five. Those five individuals flew to Toronto, where they pitched their ideas in-person to Judy Wheeler, Director of Marketing for Nissan Canada, Jay Bertram, President of TBWA Canada and Latin America, and Tony Chapman, CEO of Capital C.
A prime example of integrated marketing, the Nissan Innovation Challenge involved webisodes aptly shared on Facebook, and putting that audience in front of their televisions for the final phase. Initially, the final webisode was to be published on Facebook only, but with the involvement of Nissan’s media-buying agency, OMD, Rogers Media decided to air the content through a 30-minute television spot.
“We are so grateful to our Facebook and television audiences for providing their feedback and for voting on the entries – with their support, we have defined a new approach to our marketing campaigns,” concluded Wheeler. “A special thanks goes to Kelly, whose sincerity and ingenuity is apparent in the television spot she created, and one which we are immensely proud to air under the Nissan brand.”
To view the finalist’s submissions and webisodes, please visit the Nissan Canada Facebook page.