- Acura is introducing its 2023 Integra model with the launch of its first NFT and by opening a digital showroom in the metaverse, becoming the first automaker to do so, according to a press release emailed to Marketing Dive. The first 500 customers to reserve the car can claim a limited-edition NFT, designed by artist Andreas Wannerstedt.
- The Honda-owned carmaker's showroom in the metaverse will open on March 22, dubbed Acura of Decentraland, where fans can explore the Integra vehicle's features, play the "Beat That" racing game and browse a new Integra apparel collection designed by Wannerstedt.
- Extending the digital-heavy activation to more traditional platforms, Acura will air a new ad on broadcast TV during March Madness games and digital display ads on ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. The carmaker also plans to run NFT-specific spots across social media until all 500 limited-edition NFTs have been claimed.
At a time when demand for cars has skyrocketed compared to the pandemic's early days, Acura is hoping to make a splash by hopping on buzzy tech like NFTs and the metaverse.
While offering a limited-edition piece of virtual art likely won't entice consumers to purchase the new Integra, the NFT offers Acura a way to further connect with car buyers. The first 500 people to reserve a vehicle will receive a base NFT — featuring "surreal textures and colors" representing the Integra model — and an upgraded version upon delivery of their new car, per the press release. Drawing out the offering gives Acura two touch points to connect with customers and serves as an entry point for the carmaker to dabble in the metaverse, part of the Web3 infrastructure that is poised to evolve into the next era of the internet.
Acura is doubling down on new tech for its Integra introduction with what it claims is the first virtual showroom by a car brand. The digital platform, dubbed Acura of Decentraland, is one way to display fresh inventory and give potential buyers a more immersive view into cars' features. The approach also aligns with younger consumers' growing interest in skipping a visit to the dealership and opting to buy online, a trend reflected in a boom for services like Carvana and Vroom.
The tech-driven approach for the Integra's debut appears to build on Acura's other recent moves to draw in younger consumers as the next generation of premium drivers. In January, it premiered an anime series at the Sundance Film Festival, with episodes on YouTube and media support across social media. Acura developed an augmented reality (AR) driving game as part of a mobile campaign in 2020 and took to Facebook Instant Games in 2019 to let tire-kickers virtually take a test drive.
While younger consumers may not engage as much with traditional media channels as older cohorts, many still tune in to March Madness, suggesting it's still a valuable avenue for Acura to reach potential car buyers with ads during the annual basketball tournament.