- Nissan is partnering with navigation app Waze for an in-car campaign to promote the automaker's Pathfinder vehicle, per an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Google-owned Waze will alert drivers passing by outdoor destinations such as beaches, forests and rivers, which will be designated with "Pathfinder Preferred Terrain Pins." Waze will also change the user's icon on the app's live map to a Nissan Pathfinder. The features will be available through the end of September.
- By partnering with Waze, Nissan is hoping to use the navigation app's wealth of user data to target consumers, as well as capitalize on pandemic-related lifts in car usage.
Nissan is leveraging Waze's database on users to drive interest in its Pathfinder SUV, the latest model of which was released earlier this summer. Using information on U.S. users' favorite outdoor destinations collected since January 2020, Waze will alert drivers to whichever of these landmarks appear along their routes. Further increasing brand awareness is the change of the icon of the user's car on the app's live map to a Nissan Pathfinder.
The partnership sees Nissan taking advantage of what Waze calls "destination-based marketing," in which the navigation app helps marketers learn more about where drivers are going as opposed to where they already are. Moreover, by activating an app specifically designed for driving, Nissan can target its message by dipping into a pool of consumers more likely to be interested in purchasing cars, as opposed to broadly airing ads across non-driving channels.
Nissan is also looking to capitalize on a surge in car usage due to COVID-related fears about public transportation, per the announcement. More than half of Americans have planned to travel only by car this summer, per a survey conducted in May by manufacturing company Bridgestone. Road trips — which may help to power Nissan's effort — have subsequently increased in popularity, with nearly one-third of respondents having planned to drive at least 500 miles to their summer destination. As the delta variant spreads through the country, such travel habits could continue through the fall.
Brands from across categories have used Waze's platform to drive campaigns of their own. Heinz, in partnership with Burger King, recently leveraged the app to award free Impossible Whoppers to drivers moving at the speed of ketchup. Heineken also teamed with the app to discourage drunk driving. Despite these tie-ups, Google has had trouble growing Waze, owing partially to its prioritization of Google Maps.
Nissan's activation of Waze is the latest example of a car brand embracing mobile marketing to reach cord-cutting consumers. While not a media platform in the traditional sense, Waze's focus on community sharing of real-time information emulates aspects of a social media business model, and has garnered a pool of 140 million monthly active users. Other examples of auto brands marketing through mobile media include Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti on Cameo and Volkswagen on Pinterest.