Product / ServiceNISSAN MICRA
CategoryA05. Best Use or Integration of User-Generated Content
Entrant Company:AKQA London, UNITED KINGDOM
Contributing Company:AKQA London, UNITED KINGDOM
Contributing Company:Off Road Productions Mumbai, INDIA

The Campaign

Branded entertainment is a relatively new phenomenon in India but has grown exponentially in recent years, largely driven by increased (effective) advertising costs in a fragmented media environment, and the need to differentiate communications in a growing consumer economy. However, most branded content is created for television, which has resulted in an explosion of similar-themed (reality television) programming. The New Star of India was not only one of the first campaigns in India to focus on creating content for a digital audience, but also the first to use social media to enable the audience to play an integral part in the creation of the content. Using Facebook, we selected 20 people from all over India to act alongside Ranbir Kapoor, Bollywood’s hottest rising star (and Nissan’s brand ambassador), and also invited the rest of the community to make shot selections during post-production.


Being a late entrant to the crowded Indian automotive market, Nissan wanted to rapidly become part of the conversation among potential car buyers. With rising affluence, young Indians constantly seek bragging rights through new experiences. As Nissan is all about innovation that excites, we turned to something that excites our audience – Bollywood. We set out to make a movie starring Bollywood’s hottest star Ranbir Kapoor, 100 Nissan Micras and 20 online auditioned co-stars. Ranbir led the campaign by asking India to audition in an online teaser film launched with support of numerous bloggers and major Indian portals. We partnered with The Times Group, India’s largest media company, to call for entries through their websites, newspaper, TV and radio channels. We created a Facebook app where fans could share their dance auditions online, and held live auditions at experiential events across India. All entries were showcased on a Facebook wall where the public could vote for their favourites. The top 100 videos were revealed on Facebook and later the 20 winning co-stars were announced. We flew the winners to Bollywood’s top film studios while Nissan’s growing Facebook community followed their story. Those that didn’t make the final 20, starred in other ways; their profile pictures were painted into the set, designed as posters, and featured as magazine covers. We also allowed fans to produce the movie on Facebook by making key decisions and shot choices. We held a glittering premiere where Ranbir gave away one of the star cars, while TV trailers prompted people to watch the film online. It was also shown at hundreds of cinemas across the country. Like all Bollywood movies, New Star of India was promoted with a song, which was released in the charts by India’s biggest record label and supported by a pop video.

We recruited a Bollywood star to lead the campaign using an online film and digital advertising calling for co-stars. With further support from The Times of India network and bloggers we spread word of the upcoming movie, while open auditions online and in cities across the country helped build a Facebook community and wider awareness. We trailed the finished film on TV, at cinemas and online. And as they do with full-length Bollywood movies, we used the music from the film to promote it, releasing the track into the charts accompanied by a pop video featuring the 20 winners.

Nissan grew from a few hundred to over half a million Facebook fans in 3 months. Nissan has become the fastest growing automotive brand on Facebook in India, with one of the highest engagement rates to match. We received over 2,300 video auditions. The combined activity had a total reach of over 32m. We received over 700 test drive requests online through the campaign. The Nissan Micra was the top-selling hatchback in India in January 2012. David Parkinson, Nissan: "We wanted to rapidly become part of the conversation by doing something fresh and different. New Star of India has been immensely successful in helping Nissan build an emotional connection with Indian youth, and of course given us a great platform to continue the conversation with India at scale." Shritima Chauhan, one of the winning co-stars commented:"People like us from the middle-class in India could never have dreamt of actually meeting Ranbir, but now we’ve actually shared the set with him!"


Name Company Position
Gregory Mullen Akqa Creative Lead
Alastair Mills Akqa Creative Lead
Miles Unwin Akqa Creative Director
Quiche Campell Akqa Agency Producer
Sunil Mohan Akqa Group Account Director
Christian Lindman Akqa Senior Strategic Planner
Tim Noll Akqa Group Technical Director
Paul Tinker Akqa Senior Designer
Joanne Alden Akqa Senior User Experience Architect
Duan Evans Akqa Exec. Creative Director
James Hilton Akqa Chief Creative Officer
Saurabh Gupta Phonethics Ceo
Khalil Bachooali Offroad Films Ceo/Producer