Lights, Camera, Action for M45 Debut

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Infiniti is taking the trend started by BMW of promoting its vehicles with action-filled short films a step further by sending them on DVD to promote the U.S. debut of the Infiniti M45.


"The car has been available overseas for a number of years now," said Kristi Vandenbosch, president of Tequila, Los Angeles, the division of TBWA Worldwide that conducted the campaign for Infiniti. "Infiniti did not have a car in that $45,000 price range, and this car helps round out its portfolio in the U.S."


Infiniti sent mailers with the DVDs to 612,000 recipients in two drops, one in late October and the other early this month. Included were a picture book called "Ode to the M45" and the test-drive certificate. Mailings went to current Infiniti, Nissan Maxima and Pathfinder owners, M45 handraisers, former Infiniti and Nissan owners and prospects. Consumers who take the test drive and mail back a validated certificate can receive a digital voice recorder.


Vandenbosch would not say how many people signed up for a test drive nor would break out how many pieces went in each drop, but she said that the first mailing contained 225,203 preapprovals for financing. Those pieces went to consumers who met credit qualifications established by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. along with age and income qualifications.


The theme was to convey that the M45, which may appear to be in the luxury car category at first sight, feels more like a "muscle car with brains" once the driver gets behind the wheel.


"We wanted to celebrate the idea and that passion that people had for those muscle cars from the '60s and '70s," Vandenbosch said.


The piece was mailed in a silver envelope that read: "The New Infiniti M45 with a 340-HP V8. The brute power of a muscle car. The brainpower of an Infiniti."


The DVD contains a short film that begins with a man sitting in an Infiniti at a stoplight in Los Angeles. At the light he starts daydreaming and two muscle cars appear alongside him, and as the light turns green all three are off racing through the streets. The film finishes with him back at the stoplight and a woman alongside admiring him.


"The race scenes highlight all of the features of the car, such as speed, maneuverability and handling," she said.


As for comparisons with BMW's films, Vandenbosch said Infiniti uses the films in a more focused manner.


"Both are capturing the visceral driving experience on film," she said. "But we are putting it right in their hands. They don't have to go to a movie theater or online to see it. This is a more focused use of the medium, and we're using it as a database marketing tool."


The DVD also contains stunt driver commentary, features and specifications of the car and a photo gallery.


In the first half of the picture book, each photo is accompanied by a few lines from the ode, which mentions the car's features. The second half is divided into three parts called Muscle, Brains and Soul. Each part gives information on the car's specs, including the engine, wheels, voice recognition, navigation system, heated mirrors and climate-controlled seats.


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