Smart Promo: Nissan Enlists 'Star Wars'

After Volkswagen gets Darth Vader to help sell its cars during the Super Bowl, Nissan gets Stormtroopers to promote its crossover

Japanese marketing campaigns often feature Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio and George Clooney, but for Nissan’s latest campaign to promote its small Juke crossover, the automaker has enlisted a squadron of Stormtroopers from “Star Wars” to generate buzz.

The ads showcase the various ways customers can customize the Juke and use the white uniformed Stormtroopers roaming around a futuristic setting as a way to emphasize color and other options in a humorous way. The spot makes little sense, but most ads in Asia rarely do.

Either way, it’s a clever attention-grabbing effort in a country obsessed with “Star Wars” — a fun and unusual campaign that would also stand out Stateside if it were launched here.

Effort is being backed by its own dedicated website with a simulator, an online film (see below), TV spots, in-theater movie ads, posters in Nissan dealers and social media push on Twitter. The campaign launched Aug. 26.

The simulator shows off the various colors and combinations for the new Juke and features a Stormtrooper that also changes to match the vehicle.

In the first short film entitled “The Encounter” (see below), Stormtroopers on a reconnaissance mission to the Earth march through a parking garage and come across the Juke.

Further sequels will be released in the coming weeks.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Lucasfilm has lent its characters to carmakers.

A pint-sized Darth Vader appeared in a Super Bowl for Volkswagen that generated considerable traction with viewers in 2011.

Nissan in Japan has also tied in with Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises,” producing a Batman-inspired Juke Nismo in the region, complete with a matte black exterior, shark fin antenna and Batman symbols on the grill and seats. It awarded the car to a consumer as part of a contest around the film’s release.

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