Friday, January 22, 2010

Inspiration Sells

It seems like foreign made cars are all the rage lately because they are more reliable, less expensive, and more fuel-efficient. However, as Honda, Toyota, and Mazda have been gaining momentum, little has been said about Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti despite the fact that they have been selling well since 2000. This is about to change though.

Earlier today according to an article on the PR newswire, Infiniti has decided to play Cinderella. Through an agreement with ESPN, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the SEC, and the Big Ten, Infiniti will unleash a new marketing campaign that will run until the national championship game on April 5. This article also notes that the campaign will run through television, print, and digital media. This way millions of people will see these advertisements, and Infiniti hopes that by unveiling the 2011 Infiniti M during the tipoff of the championship game will generate enough buzz to make the costs, which I assume are ridiculously high, worthwhile.

Despite the price, I believe that this marketing strategy will work for a few different reasons. First, when a product can associate itself with the elite of a group, it gains the reputation of being the choice of the elite regardless of whether or not this upper-class really uses the product. Several interviews with the perceived best coaches in NCAA such as Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, and Roy Williams will explain to the viewer how important inspiration is in college basketball. I assume then that this will then be expanded for the need of inspiration in each of our lives. Wow! What a coincidence! Infiniti prides itself with the message of "Inspired Performance." So the message will be clear that without inspiration life would be less exciting or possibly less successful.

Another reason I believe this marketing strategy will pay off is because of the sheer number of people who watch the NCAA tournament. According to The Nielsen Company, last year 136.8 million unique viewers tuned in to at least one minute of an NCAA tournament game. Even if Infiniti only influences .1% of viewers, they will still sell 136,800 vehicles. This would be amazing considering in the calendar year 2009, the entire Infiniti division only sold 81,089 units according to PR Newswire. I do realize that many television viewers would not be able to buy these vehicles due to age, price, or a multitude of other factors. However, the ability to reach such a large market for a few months while appealing to America's obsession with March Madness I believe will allow Infiniti to move ahead and improve their position in the fight for sales.

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