- Infiniti will put actor Daveed Diggs behind the wheel of its new QX80 crossover model as part of an Instagram Live activation on Oct. 13, according to a company announcement.
- During the stream, the "Hamilton" star will show off the car's features while answering questions viewers send in from a live chat on the image-sharing app. Those who tune in will get a "driver's seat view" of the vehicle, per the announcement.
- Infiniti says the activation, which arrives ahead of its annual Winter Sales Event, marks new territory for the brand's use of Instagram Live. The luxury automaker is reaching for immersion and intimacy, qualities that have grown more important to consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Infiniti is looking to leverage the popularity of livestreaming during the pandemic to draw interest to its latest QX80 model and winter sales event. On the latter front, the Nissan-owned brand has to contend with limitations stemming from the health crisis and win over consumers who are avoiding the type of in-person shopping that provides the bedrock of car sales.
The automaker is hoping to recreate the intimacy of a test drive while allowing potential buyers to stream from the safety of their homes. Diggs, a multihyphenate talent best known for his scene-stealing role as Thomas Jefferson in "Hamilton," could bolster the event's appeal given the hit Broadway show's recent resurgence in popularity thanks to landing on streaming service Disney+ over the summer.
Infiniti is also making use of Instagram features like live chat to allow viewers to ask questions of the actor and stay engaged with the stream. In a press statement, Diggs emphasized that "personal, real-time interaction" is more important than ever, and that Instagram Live allows those connections to thrive.
Instagram Live, which debuted four years ago, has enshrined itself as a major feature of Facebook's photo-sharing app during the pandemic as people look to stay connected. The app saw usage of livestreams shoot up 70% in the U.S., according to internal figures shared in April, just a month after the coronavirus hit the nation in force.
The Infiniti news offers the latest instance of how automakers are retooling their social media strategies to recreate the showroom experience online and provide consumers with more information on the latest vehicle models, as well as entertainment.
After experiencing a blow in the early days of the pandemic, auto sales have appeared to pick back up again. However, much of the interest has been centered on used vehicles as commuters look to avoid public transit and ride-hailing services, but in a budget-conscious way, according to a report in The New York Times. That means brands have their work cut out for them in marketing new models, particularly in the luxury sector.
One bright spot for Infiniti could be the growing adoption of e-commerce as a channel to purchase new vehicles. The brand recently launched an online shopping portal, Infiniti Now, that lets users shop for cars, set up at-home test drive appointments and search local retailers for inventory.