How Nissan Created A 4-Hour Ad Viewers Don’t Want to Skip

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Many YouTube viewers click “skip ad” as soon as possible, but Nissan figured out how to keep viewers engaged for four hours without reaching for the “skip” button. Keep reading to learn how.

The automotive industry is ripe for marketing innovation. Traditionally, outside of the occasional car commercial featuring vehicles driving through various terrains and excursions, most of the marketing happened at car dealerships.

Until the pandemic.

Between travel restrictions, high interest rates, and supply chain issues that caused manufacturing disruptions, the automotive industry has had major growth challenges over the past few years, and relying on dealerships alone to push sales isn’t cutting it.

With more customers looking to facilitate the car buying process online, car manufacturers’ ability to embrace digital marketing tactics is more important than ever for making sales.

Earlier this year, Nissan launched a new ad that is refreshingly different from traditional marketing tactics associated with car companies.

The manufacturer posted a four-hour-long video to its YouTube channel featuring a custom Lofi playlist that serves as the soundtrack to an animated character’s road trip. The animated character happens to be driving a Nissan ARIYA and passes several Nissan billboards on their drive.

Since launching in February, the video has racked up over 17 million views and 3,500 overwhelmingly positive comments. Here’s what viewers had to say:

I’ve been letting this ad run for 20 minutes.  I’ve sent it to friends, saved it in my favorites, and hadn’t ever considered a Nissan before – but who knows now?  I genuinely want to shake the hand of whoever greenlit this in the advertising department.  It’s a very normal chill hop reel, but that’s what’s so uncommon and endearing about it. Amazing job & sincere kudos for having your finger on the pulse on this one!”
“At first, I was like? ‘Is this really a 4-hour ad?’ Then I was like, ‘Damn, this beat is fire.’”
“This might be the first-ever ad (and longest) that I didn’t want to skip.”

In addition to having the video listed on its own channel, Nissan also runs the ad on other Lofi YouTube channels. The spot blends right in with the Lofi playlists audiences are looking for, and doesn’t tempt Lofi fans to click “skip ad.”

Why is the Nissan ARIYA Lofi ad so captivating?

Well, the music, for starters. Lofi stands for low fidelity, a genre that combines elements of jazz, hip-hop, and pop to create dreamy, laid-back music tracks.

Originating in the early 2000s, Lofi music has become a popular genre, particularly on YouTube, that people often listen to while working, studying, or trying to relax.

Many commenters on Nissan’s video complimented how good the music was, and noted it was a playlist they would want to come back and listen to again and again.

Inspired by Lofi Girl

The ad takes clear inspiration from Lofi Girl, a popular YouTube channel that streams Lofi music 24/7 and has racked up billions of views (yes billions, with a B) since 2017.

Recently, the Lofi Girl YouTube channel made headlines for unlocking a new character.

Fans of Lofi Girl were in for a surprise when a mysterious countdown timer popped up on the channel and the familiar Jane the Lofi Girl character temporarily disappeared. The countdown eventually introduced a new live stream called Synthwave from the point of view of a new Lofi Boy character.

Nissan’s ad relies heavily on subliminal marketing, creating an association between Lofi music and driving a Nissan. While it’s ultimately a long-game play, Nissan hit it out of the park reaching a new audience with this innovative effort.

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