Going rogue doesn't mean going solo.
That was the thinking behind Nissan's promotional tie-in with the newest Star Wars film, which finally opens nationwide in Canada on Dec. 16 after an eight-month buildup.
The partnership, announced in August, began with a little serendipity. The name of Nissan's top-selling Canadian model, the Rogue compact crossover.
Through the first 11 months of 2015, Nissan has sold 36,884 units in Canada, up 11 per cent over last year. The Rogue accounts for more than half the combined total of 68,051 trucks and SUVs Nissan has sold in Canada this year.
It's also Nissan's top-selling model in the United States.
The vehicle's name just happened to be embedded in the movie's title, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The timing of the film's release roughly coincided with the arrival of a face-lifted 2017 model, and both were aimed at family audiences.
Those links opened the door, says Nissan North America marketing chief Jeremy Tucker. But to make the partnership and promotion work -- that is, to actually sell vehicles -- would require a much heavier lift.
And that's where the dealers came in.
Like Nissan's marketing brass, the dealers wanted to use the blockbuster relationship to push the safety technologies of the Rogue. So Nissan formed a team of six dealers from its marketing subcommittee to provide insight on how to make the most of one of its highest-profile marketing forays to date.
Members of the elite team, dubbed the Dealer 6, were immersed in each level of the campaign, from the Tier 1 and Tier 2 TV ad strategy to the digital executions and the activities within stores. They advised the automaker about the creative direction and execution of the campaign's elements, while ensuring that communication with the dealer network flowed smoothly at every stage.