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Nissan cars soar as it launches world of Qashqai

LONDON - Cars fly through the air as Nissan launches its latest model, the Qashqai, with a viral advertising campaign that centres on the dangerous and fictional world of Japanese Qashqai Car Games.

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The online spot revolves around a driver involved in the new urban sport known as Qashqai Car Games. The stunt cars used are the new Nissan models, a crossover compact car larger than a hatchback but smaller than an SUV.

The concept was created by TBWA\London and TBWA\G1-Europe. The most robust part of the integrated campaign will roll out with the launch of online films showing stunts performed by supposed "professional" Qashqai drivers. The pan-European effort brings the games to life throughout the online world and the official website of the "games"

The campaign, which targets 25- to 35-year-old males, creates a complete extreme sport world with every realistic component brought to life including the history of the games, rules, fan sites, teams and driver profiles. The driver featured in the viral shows his toughness by punching pork ribs before being slapped across the chest with fish.

According to the elaborate history of the sport, it began in Berlin in 2001 by BMX enthusiast Magmus Stiller. Wanting to take the sport further, driver Aki Yakamoto teamed up with Nissan to develop a new concept car, the Qashqai, and the Qashqai Car Games were born, leading to the sport's expansion into Europe, the US, Tokyo, Brazil and Russia.

Bastien Schupp, general manager of marketing communications for Nissan Europe, said: "We were looking for a way to get a younger, trendy audience to engage with the name Qashqai. Although difficult to control and predict, the online world and it many formats looked like the right platform to reach our target. At the same time, this campaign allows us to learn more about this relatively new environment where internet, advertising and entertainment are increasingly merging, while having loads of fun."

Those who see the viral campaign are left to decide if the Qashqai Car Games are real or an elaborate hoax, with seeded sites using blogs and false news reports, which could suggest either reality could be true.

The website, created by Duke, allows visitors to experience the games, while a seeding strategy developed by OMD and TBWA\ brings it to life through multiple storylines across a variety of online channels. Duke has also created complementary content to bring the idea to life, in addition to developing a rich-media banner campaign to send traffic to the website. This will appear on MSN's homepage and drive traffic through to Nissan product sites.

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