AUTOS: Phantom Car, Faint Sales

Phantom Car, Faint Sales

Nissan's ad campaign for its new Infiniti luxury cars is renowned for a novel gimmick: the autos are nowhere in sight. Now, as it turns out, neither are buyers. The Infiniti ads, applauded for their Zen approach, depict lushly photographed trees, boulders, lightning bolts and breaking waves. At first that created suspense about the $23,500 coupe and $38,000 sedan. Curious car shoppers descended on Infiniti dealerships just to catch a glimpse of the mystery mobiles. A Gallup poll in November found that the ad was the best- recalled commercial on U.S. television.

But piquing interest is not always the same as...

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