How cars could be digitally marketed and sold in Kenya.

I love cars. If you follow me on Twitter or are a Friend on Facebook, you would know by now how much I love Formula One and by extension cars. In Kenya, as happens in the rest of Africa, the business of marketing and selling cars has remained largely “old school” in that little has changed over the last three decades or so. Sure, many automotive dealers selling new and pre-owned cars have corporate and sometimes (local) brand web sites these days but this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can actually do to in terms of selling cars via digital channels. During a recent trip to South Africa, I experienced what I could only describe as a cutting edge approach to marketing a new car in that market – The Nissan Juke.

The Nissan Juke is what you would call a small SUV. Its brand new to South Africa and clearly the Agency that was briefed to market the Nissan Juke must have been given full creative license to come up with an innovative digital marketing approach. The whole marketing approach starts by having a “prominent” (read: spotlights, barriers, etc) closed off space in a mall where you cannot see anything at all, as below:










Now, as you can see, there is NOTHING in the closed off space. This is where it gets interesting. The team doing the brand activation then come up to you and ask you if you would like to see the car? “What car?” you ask. They then point their iPad at the empty space for a few seconds as below:










Then, you wait for a few seconds and the following is what you see:










And…PRESTO! A virtual Nissan Juke floats onto the screen of the iPad. However, its a complete 3D mock-up of the car so using the iPad you can “walk” around the car and even open the doors and peer in, etc. Its like the real thing but only its digital and virtual. Its a classic case of using augmented reality to market a real-world product in a virtual and digital space. This is really innovative and novel. However, it gets better as per the screen below:










On the above screen, right from the iPad, you can navigate to an online form so that you can book a test drive or make a general enquiry on the Nissan Juke. Now this bit of the “campaign” for the Nissan Juke I loved the most since instead of just interesting would be buyers, you capture lead details so that the selling process can begin immediately after the first marketing effort has been achieved.

Now, this whole campaign of the Nissan Juke may represent the cutting edge of digital marketing approaches that are possible for cars. However, it’s but just one way in which the marketing of cars could be reinvented in markets like Kenya and the rest of Africa. I can imagine an approach that leverages mobile optimized web sites, QR codes, mobile marketing, email marketing, etc in lots of new and exciting ways that get people to buy a  car –  instead of just glancing at a full-page newspaper ad or a billboard on a highway. To visit the campaign website for the Nissan Juke in South Africa go to www.nissanjuke.co.za



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