Nissan was the first automaker out of the starting blocks last year when it was announced that women would be permitted to drive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but the brand’s strategy is based on a marathon not a sprint.

Nissan tweeted a licence plate – GRL 2018 – just 49 minutes after the Royal Decree on 26 September 2017 declaring that women could drive.

The campaign that followed, #SheDrives, showed Nissan’s intention to be there for women as opposed to simply giving them the hard sell.

The brand wanted to be a “confidence-booster”, Hussein M. Dajani, Nissan’s general manager - customer experience transformation - Africa, Middle East, India, and Turkey, told a WARC event in Dubai last week. (For more, read WARC’s report: MENA strategy works: lessons from Nissan and Coke.)

“The brand isn’t in your face trying to sell you a car,” he explained. “It’s celebrating that the power is now in your hands and encouraging Saudi women to go out and drive.”

A series of six-second videos created off the back of the GRL 2018 tweet were based on what Nissan unearthed when it spoke to Saudi women – and that was actually a tendency to want to wait to drive because they were seeking the blessing of the men in their lives to give them permission to do so.

With less than 1% of women in Saudi driving to date, Nissan is playing a long-term game, but Dajani is patient. “Change takes time but it will happen,” he said.

“Saudi women will remember that Nissan was there supporting them from the start. Nissan has started the journey, but it’s still the beginning of the road.”

Sourced from WARC