Nissan, the new star of a crowdsourcing campaign
Nissan-India’s five-minute film starring bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, 100 Nissan Micra cars, a live elephant and 20 bollywood wannabes auditioned on facebook and has been dubbed the first of its kind in the world
IT ALL started with a simple brief. Nissan, as a late entrant into the crowded automobile market in India, wanted to do something fresh and innovative to raise its brand profile among young Indians, and quickly. We knew immediately that we had to get Nissan to become part of, and lead, the conversations among young India and definitely not another look-our-cars-are-so-cool advertising campaign. We honed in on two things — Facebook, which is experiencing phenomenal growth in India, and Bollywood, which cannot possibly grow anymore. The New Star of India was born.
Our goal was not just to create a Bollywood movie, but to let people participate in the creation of the movie like it has never been done before. The plan we had was fairly simple — we’d select 20 of the best dancers in India, give them the experience of a lifetime by getting them to star in the movie alongside Ranbir Kapoor, we’d get even more people involved in shaping the final movie and make everyone famous. Easy, right? We were in for the ride of a lifetime.
We launched the campaign on Facebook with a short film from Ranbir inviting people to submit their dance entries for a chance to act alongside him in a by-the-people movie like never before. We went to shopping malls seeking dancers among shoppers and find them we did! Looking at the overwhelming numbers of people willing to step up and show their moves in front of crowds, it felt as though everyone in India is born with rhythm in their bones.
We received over 2,000 entries but fortunately for us, the top 100 were to be decided by public vote on Facebook — we honestly couldn’t have picked the best from so many good entries. Choreographer/Director Ahmed Khan (of Rangeela/Taal fame) then helped us pick their top 20, who were flown to Hyderabad for the shoot.
Despite the heartwarming story, we always knew that the film had to stand on its own legs as a piece of work. We wanted it to be a celebration of Bollywood but we were always adamant there had to be no shortcuts. Cars were to dance and dance in reality, Ranbir was to actually run on top of oncoming cars, and we had to actually paint pictures of our Facebook fans into the set.
We had over 600 people on set, and each and every one of them pushed themselves for six days to bring our vision to reality. Seeing our winners from Facebook dance alongside Ranbir brought tears to our eyes, and much more to their own. Ranbir himself was one of the kindest, most charming guys I’ve ever met. A thorough professional who was a joy to work with.
Meanwhile on Facebook, our fan community has been growing by the day and we kept them involved by getting them to input into the editing process online. The community is growing every day and Nissan has already become the top automotive brand on Facebook in India. Our film has been received well on YouTube and we’re working on our plans to have a grand finale for the campaign.
We always think big but know that getting there requires the small things to be executed to perfection. We worked with several partners in India who shared our ethos and contributed immensely to the success of the campaign. And if you haven’t already figured it out by now, we have all been bowled over by the energy and warmth we felt in India. We are very grateful.
The author is a Group Account Director at AKQA, the creative agency behind Nissan’s New Star of India campaign