Sunday
Jan242010

Infiniti Campaign Putting The 'M' Into March Madness Marketing

The Infiniti M luxury sedan will get a lot of playing time during March Madness.January 24, 2010: Infiniti will use a major alliance with the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament, a multi-platform deal with ESPN and "official luxury vehicle" designations with powerhouse conferences SEC and the Big Ten to support the launch of its  2011 Infiniti M luxury sedan.

Financial details were not released, but the division of Nissan called it "the most comprehensive marketing initiative" in its 20-year history.

Infiniti said a "360-degree" approach includes TV on ESPN during college basketball for the rest of the current season and on CBS during "March Madness," print, an integrated package of sponsorships, content-driven original programming and online and social media extensions at USAToday.com, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. The campaign will build through March Madness to the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Final Four April 3-5, which will take place in Indianapolis. Lead agency is TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.

Infiniti will break its first 2011 M luxury sedan TV spot debut during the tip-off of the NCAA championship on CBS. The multi-tier marketing will also support the 2010 Infiniti G as well as Infiniti's "Inspired Performance" brand messages.

Analysts said the alliance with March Madness will put Infiniti in touch with a large, attentive audience that fits well into the automaker's target demographics of 30-45-year-old upscale men. The Infiniti M is scheduled to go on sale at Infiniti dealers nationwide in Spring 2010. Base price was put at $48,000.

"College basketball, and particularly the NCAA championship tournament, is one of those special moments in time that everyone looks forward to every year," Ben Poore, vp-Infiniti Business Unit, said in a statement. "We're creating our own platform with our original themed content and new media applications and extensions to build awareness of Infiniti and our exciting Infiniti luxury performance vehicles."

In addition to TV, marketing elements on ESPN will include the Infiniti College Basketball Tip-Off, to air on ESPN prior to the start of eight top college match-ups; an "Inspiring Coaches" spotlight series on ESPN.com, ESPN mobile and the Infiniti Facebook page, which will look at such head basketball coaches as Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bill Self (Kansas), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Billy Donovan (Florida) and Roy Williams (North Carolina); "What To Watch For" teasers during the week leading up to each Saturday primetime game, along with spots during the ESPNews "Infiniti Saturday Recap"; and "Game of the Night" branding on ESPN Mobile.

Designation as the "official luxury vehicle" of the SEC and Big Ten Conferences will include on-site fan experiences at conference championship tournaments. Infiniti has also formed an alliance with the National Association of Basketball Coaches as part of March Madness marketing.

"With this multi-platform approach and the creation of unique editorial content in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, we're creating a great space from which to promote our brand and launch the exciting new Infiniti M sedan," said Poole.

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