As a producer of what are, for the most part, fairly unsexy-looking cars, Nissan has found that showing its actual vehicles isn’t necessarily the best way to generate buzz.
The brand has followed up on 2016’s ‘intelligent parking chair’ exercise with its own reinterpretation of Japanese hospitality: self-parking slippers.
The footwear is a feature of the ProPilot Park Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in the hot spring resort town of Hakone. The slippers use Nissan’s ProPilot ‘intelligent mobility’ technology to ‘park’ at the entrance of the hotel to welcome guests.
Cushions and tables have also been equipped to align themselves perfectly in the guestrooms. The stunt is an entertaining way to showcase the technology used in Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf, which uses sensors and cameras to park automatically.
Nissan is running a competition for a pair of travellers to spend a night at the inn. Hopeful participants are obliged to post on Twitter using the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay until 10 February.
Campaign’s view: It’s definitely a lot more fun than watching a car drive along a mountain road, or even park itself. Finding a way to tap into Japan’s famous hospitality (which, incidentally, Nikkei Business argues is overrated in a new report (Japanese-language)) is clever and unexpected. Our only question is, why not open the inn up to regular paying customers on a first-come, first-served basis, even if only for a short time? Taking the chance to engage as many people as possible seems preferable to creating a one-off stunt. Other than that, this should have people guessing as to where Nissan will hide its technology next.