Infiniti Goes Direct to Promote Test Drives

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Infiniti will send direct mail pieces and e-mails to hundreds of thousands of existing Infiniti owners and prospects this month as part of what the automaker calls its largest and most direct-oriented campaign.


While print and television advertisements will build broad awareness for the new model, the direct mail and e-mail effort will try to get recipients to test-drive the car.


"What we want to do is get them to come in to dealerships to take a test-drive," said Brian O'Malley, corporate manager of Infiniti marketing. "We are focusing on the attributes of the car in hopes of accomplishing that.


"With direct mail and e-mail we can provide them with more information and things that we would be unable to do in other forms of media."


Infiniti, Gardena, CA, will send 500,000 direct mail pieces at the end of October. Prospects will receive 60 percent of the mailings while current Infiniti owners and lessees will receive the rest. The same pieces will go to both groups.


Prospects included people who filled out hand-raisers at auto shows, contacted Infiniti through its toll-free number, visited the Web site looking for information on the I35 and inquired about the car at dealerships.


A portion of prospects identified as most likely to make a purchase will receive an incentive offer within the mail piece. O'Malley would not say how many will receive the incentive or what the offer is.


Last month Infiniti sent out a brief informational brochure on the upcoming release of the car to its current customers in billing statements.


The e-mail effort began in July and will run until November and will go out to 600,000 owners and prospects, including some of those receiving the direct mail pieces.


Three print ads, which highlight the features and power of the car, will appear in 35 magazines, including automotive magazines such as Car & Driver and Automobile; newsmagazines such as BusinessWeek and Fortune; financial magazines such as Smart Money and Forbes; and consumer magazines including Art & Digest and Black Enterprise.


An eight-page free-standing insert that opens into a poster was shipped late last month in major newspapers covering Infiniti's 16 major markets.


A television commercial began airing last week.


In November Infiniti will run direct response print ads in a number of enthusiast publications. O'Malley said the ads will attempt to drive consumers to the Web site or to call a toll-free number for more information on the car and setting up a test-drive at their local dealerships.


The campaign was designed by TBWAChiatDay, Playa Del Rey, CA.


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