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April 01, 2007

« The Real Cost of CEO Housing | Main | Global Quality of Life Rankings »

Pino Really fascinating WSJ piece (sub required) by Amy Chozick about Nissan's marketing and advertising strategy aiming their Pino (short for Pinnochio) mini-car at young Japanese women. (Wired has a piece also) Apparently mini-cars accounted for 33% of passenger cars sold in Japan in 2006. The campaign portrays the Pino as just another accessory for women who love all things cute (or kawaii in Japanese -- think Hello Kitty and friends). Nissan is offering lip shaped cd cases, seat covers with hearts, and furry red floormats. This is definitely a small segment of the global creative class, but we know from history that Japanese consumers are often leading edge and their dense urban environments lead to interesting new products and ideas (think Jane Jacobs). From the piece...

"While these deep-pocketed shoppers spend lavishly on clothes and accessories, cars are optional for many. Instead, they rely on bicycles, motorbikes or public transport. So Nissan Motor purposely avoided focusing too much attention on the car itself. Instead, television and print ads portray the Pino as just one item in a collage of accessories, such as plushy animals, furry seat cushions and heart-shaped decals. The Pino pamphlet, designed to read like a comic book, shows a group of fashionable youths eating cupcakes and showing off manicured nails that match the Pino's star upholstery pattern."


"Nissan has no plans to take its minicars to the U.S. Even the most minute new models in the U.S. have much larger engines than Japanese minicars. "This is a Japan-only phenomenon," says Miwa Ishii, marketing manager for Nissan's minicar division.

The campaign, which started in January, is part of Nissan's big push into Japan's red-hot minicar market. Minicars, which are cars with engines of under 660 cubic centimeters -- about half the size of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle -- have soared in popularity recently, even as the overall car market has remained flat. That is because they are fuel efficient, getting up to 50 miles per gallon, at a time when gasoline prices are high. Taxes on minicars also are lower in Japan than for bigger cars. And there have been a slew of cute-looking models that cost as little as $6,000, appealing to first-time car owners and budget-conscious families. In 2006, 33% of total passenger-car sales in Japan were minicars, according to the Japan Minivehicles Association.

With competition getting tougher, Nissan's strategy is to target a narrowly defined audience. The Pino, named after the character Pinocchio, is aimed at 20-year-old women who love all things cute, or kawaii. Nissan also sells the sportier Moco minicar, for professional women in their late 20s, and the more spacious Otti model targeting mothers in their early 30s."

posted by David



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