50 new Nissan Cubes are driving off dealer lots this month. Each one’s being driven by a brand advocate, the reward for months of creation and promotion by musicians, DJs, dancers, programmers, designers, bloggers, podcasters, poets, writers and artists, and all kinds of creative thinkers. Nissan openly called The Hypercube a social media marketing experiment, choosing to invest only in this channel, and is now pleased to announce (or tweet, perhaps) the successful proof of their thesis.
Nissan Canada’s creative agency, Capital C, went beyond the boilerplate hey-make-us-a-video and please-retweet-our-propaganda “campaigns” that are all too common these days, by offering prizes on which creative minds could really envision spending time and effort.
Continue reading about the program and its outcome…
Of 7000 applicants, 500 elite were given Hypercube canvases to audition for the mass public, stumping for daily votes with photos and animation, video, poetry and song. Competitors even took their campaigning offline, including Telma “TSwizz” Costa, who created and distributed pins to drive traffic, and Sean “Cube Man” Williams who literally drove offline traffic in his homemade cardboard Cube costume.
You can view all of the winning canvasses at thehypercube.ca. Here is just one of the intense and daily updated canvases:
The Hypercube site was just the town hall of this experience, though, as competitors posted images to Flickr, tweeted up a storm, created videos on YouTube…
…built web pages and blogs, and invoked social graphs from their other communities. For example, contestant Andre Molnar looked to leverage the passionate Drupal community, by promising to create the “Drupliconcube,” a Nissan cube “decked out in Druplicons, spreading the Drupal love to the streets.
More than just pleas for votes, these daily updates became meaningful interactions between the competitors. Williams sent out a YouTube dance-off challenge to his fellow participants, and created this mashup:
Such a momentous story had to end with an explosive climax, and on June 24, it did just that. Contestants gathered with friends at events simulcast in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Contestants performed live between DJ sets and mingled over drinks, until winners were announced across the country via big screen video.
But the real prize goes to Nissan Canada, who now has tons of authentic content to work with, generated by skilled creatives at a low cost. The winners are required to update their canvasses twice a month for the next year, but the brand will get a lot more than that, I predict, as these content generators are eager to share their experiences on the road.
Moreover, this campaign was just the spark, a great success already, but the story of the Nissan Cube and the CubeCommunity is just beginning. Cubecommunity.ca teases us with a “coming soon” page, but the long-term strategy is obvious, as the community has all of the core requirements, starting with deeply invested and passionate community leaders.
All too often, big brands create deep connections with new communities, but then drop these connections as soon as their campaign is over. Nissan has demonstrated how to think and plan long term; find–no, create passionate advocates who themselves created a plethora of content and awareness; and build a brand in partnership with their customers. I’m happy to admit, the bar’s just been raised for “social media marketing.”