For Nissan, overall brand intentions and opinions of the brand were at a six-year low. The Xterra launch needed to create momentum and accelerate a rebirth of consumer confidence in Nissan.
Bigger, more luxurious SUV’s became the new status vehicles. This new definition of the SUV as luxury vehicles left a hole in the marketplace that was open for exploitation. Someone needed to put back the “utitlity” into the SUV.
Present the Xterra as Functional Outdoor Gear you can depend on. Its image has to be true to the consumers that started the SUV craze. The key was to reach THE OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS. The attitude is effectively captured in the phrase “Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t.” The net result of the creative strategy is not to just sell an SUV to outdoor enthusiasts, but to present the product as part of their culture. To create Xterra evangelists, not just Xterra buyers.
Response to pre-launch efforts offered an early indication of successes to come. The goal was 50,000 “hand-raisers” prior to launch, the result was 75,000 (150% of objective.) This was
followed by (members.home.net/cliffside/xterra.html) the unofficial Xterra web-site, created by an impatient evangelist as a forum for Xterra evangelists. The page was and still is populated by the core target who flamed a BMW owner who wanted the Xterra as second vehicle to tow his boat to the Hamptons.
The campaign was awarded the Grand Effie in 2001.