Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rich Media Sells Cars

Photograph Stephenie Hollyman 2005

At Photo Expo yesterday I was chatting, briefly, with Holly Hughes, Managing Editor of Photo District News, about multimedia and Brian Storm's exciting new venture which just auctioned off a rich-media story package for the first time to MSNBC online, two days ago. I asked Holly if anybody was making any money yet from producing media-rich stories. She shook her head and said, " Not yet."

Nissan Sells Cars With Rich Interactive Media

That may be true for photographers but the ad agencies working for Nissan seem to be doing OK. When I returned home, people were dancing across the Street at the Seaport Museum, prancing on a red backdrop in the cold, in front of a van where their images were being projected onto a grid of video screens. Grunged type on the truck read " 7 Days, Seven Lessons, An Interactive Experience from Nissan." It is all part of a five-city cross media campaign produced by All Points Media to promote Nissan's latest model Sentra car to young urbanites.

The agency hired Marc Horowitz, to shoot in a You-Tubey manner, The Tennessean tells us
"a California-based performance artist and photographer's assistant, and the trials and tribulations he experienced while trying to maintain a normal life living in the car for a week in Los Angeles... Besides Web logs, a My Space page and online videos, the company also bought an online "island" in the fast-growing virtual reality game SecondLife..."We shot it in what we call 'reality plus,' " said Rob Schwartz, executive creative director for Nissan's primary ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day...The result is a $40 million to $50 million advertising campaign that includes seven different television commercials, a variety of print ads, at least three Web sites, a couple of blogs, 15 "Webisodes" and a spot in an online computer game, where players can get their own virtual reality version of the Sentra to drive around cyberspace (where they'll see virtual Nissan billboards, too).

Cool Cars With Plugs for iPods & Bluetooth Technology

Here at South Street Nissan's newest Sentra was parked next to the van. A " Product Specialist" invited a passing tourist named Stacy to check it out. Stacy, who owns a 2005 Sentra, settled into the car's roomy front seat. When she was told that the car had Bluetooth wireless technology and that she could plug her IPod into the car's speakers, controlling the volume at the steering wheel, she shouted out " Get Out! I love everything. It's a toy!"

showerdaily.jpgStacy now headed for the red backdrop where she watched herself moving as part of the " Lesson 5: Remember to Shower Daily" episode that played on the large screen on the van. A small web cam picked up her movements and projected them back as on the screen. Her interactive "real time" guide Alonzo Wilson, from Oregon's All Points Media told Stacy he was going to " Fog". After a flick of Alonzo's remote wand, Stacy saw Eric on the screen telling us that he needs a bath and is going to the car wash. Fog enveloped each of the squares in the screen. Alonzo instructed Stacy to " wave" it away which she did with a flourish.

Nissan has built a faux site on My Space for Marc, including videos and PDF files vistors can download.

Photo Stephenie Hollyman

But there are perils along this path warn experts.

"That lack of authenticity … can come back to haunt the advertiser," warns adman Garfield. "It's a real obsession with those who live online. They don't like people playing with their minds."

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