Fears Stall Nissan Mailer

Share this content:
When Nissan North America unveiled the marketing campaign for its 2002 Altima model last month, Peter Goodwin, its corporate manager of marketing communications, said, "We are pulling no punches with this campaign, and we are coming out as aggressive as ever."


That was then.


Nissan canceled the remaining 62,000 direct mail pieces after getting complaints from a few of the 255,000 customers and prospects who were worried that the packages might contain anthrax.


The confusion stemmed from two mail pieces Nissan developed as part of its positioning the Altima as "the cure for the common car." The first piece, sent to 200,000 Nissan owners, resembled a bag similar to those from a pharmacy and included an empty prescription bottle along with a fold-out poster describing the new V6 Altima.


"Taken daily, Altima is an important part of an exhilarating driving experience," the copy reads. "If you have a valid driver's license and little or no desire to dance the Macarena in public, you are an ideal candidate to drive Altima."


The other piece, sent to 55,000 prospects, was a larger mailer shaped like a prescription bottle that contained a CD-ROM about the car.


Nissan began mailing both packages Sept. 24, before anthrax became a concern. Consumer calls started coming Oct. 9, said Kurt von Zumwalt, director of product and consumer public relations at Nissan North America, Gardena, CA. The company canceled the remaining mailings the next day after receiving 36 calls.


"We weren't inundated by calls, and there were probably other people who were concerned but didn't call us," he said. "We stopped the mailings because we agree that at this current time the package could be misconstrued. We looked at it in that light and felt it was the best decision."


The company began calling consumers who were mailed the packages, von Zumwalt said, and is drafting a letter to apologize for any scare the mailing may have caused.


Von Zumwalt said Nissan still might mail the remaining pieces later and that 10,000 prospects who asked for information on the car will receive a new mailing.


"Those people have requested information from us so they will get something," he said. "We will most likely devise a traditional mail piece that is shrink-wrapped so they can see the contents. The outside will be clearly marked with our name along with a toll-free number to call if they have any questions about the package."


Given the situation nationally, von Zumwalt said, making certain sacrifices on mail campaigns is the right thing to do.


"Standard direct mail pieces may not stand out as much, and we might have to sacrifice some on creating a piece that grabs people's attention," he said. "But they will still be receiving all the relevant and basic information inside the mail piece, and that is the most important thing."


Von Zumwalt said Nissan will not increase other areas of advertising for this campaign, which include print, TV and online ads.


"We are going to leave those areas as is," he said.


Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa Data has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa Data offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here