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How do you market a Nissan to Chinese, Hispanic, and African American millennials? That was the question posed by the 2012 National Advertising Student Competition. Nissan was my first full-on marketing campaign. It was supported by Nielsen research data, focus groups, a survey, and elaborate creative executions. Nissan’s goal was to capture a larger portion of a diverse ethnic market. I played multiple roles: account planner, creative, and, ultimately, ad book writer and editor.

group. My goal as a planner was to add a dynamic twist to the campaign. I condensed each conversation into mini stories. Each story was featured in our magazine-style ad plan book, giving a poignant voice to our consumer that would have been lost otherwise.

Giving Minorities a Story Our focus group included a member from each ethnic

Charles and Oscar both exhibited the power of these short bios in their stories below.

“Because of the way black people are portrayed in the media, people expect me to behave in a certain way—they expect me to be less educated. I talk properly and I don’t use slang. They’re almost disappointed when they find out that I’m educated. You shouldn’t be disappointed when people come in and aren’t educated, not when they are. There shouldn’t be any different expectations for me. I’m not excelling as a black kid; I’m excelling as a human being.” —Charles, 23-year-old African American from Texas studying communications

“Dealerships don’t listen to me. I bought a truck right when I got back from Texas. I told the dealership that I wanted four-wheel drive, but they told me I couldn’t afford it. Later, when I was getting my tires change, I found out that there was a lug nut missing off each tire. “On Latino channels, the advertising changes to comfort—how good you feel driving the car, the fun you have in the car. I haven’t seen them advertise feeling as much on English channels.” —Oscar, Hispanic American pursuing his undergraduate degree


The quotes translated well into the creative strategy, paralleling the judgment cast on minorities with the judgment cast on Nissan—and showing the true strength both have in common.

My largest contribution was writing the missing portions of the ad plan book and working with former Ogilvy copywriter, professor Kevin Kelly, to edit the final product. Thankfully, the judges said it was the best book they had seen in years and awarded our team 2nd

Creating an Interactive Element The campaign features numerous impressive executions, but we needed something to engage our social media audience. My team created an interactive Facebook app—called “The Drive Within” after our campaign—that allows users to watch themselves “drive” through Google streets and view their face in the rearview mirror using information captured from Facebook. The driving experience ultimately brings them to their nearby Nissan dealership. Streamlining the Final Product

place at regionals.

To view the full Nissan ad plan book, scan here.