Renault to use Sims 3 for electric car roll-out

Renault is advertising on The Sims 3
Renault is advertising on The Sims 3

LONDON - Renault has signed a deal with video-games company Electronic Arts to launch its forthcoming Zero Emission (Z.E) electric vehicle through virtual reality game The Sims 3.

The range of four electric models, set to roll out from next year, is central to the French marque's future strategy.

The tie-up with The Sims will offer consumers their first opportunity to interact with the vehicles.

Renault hopes to target digitally savvy consumers and early adopters, as it looks to position itself at the forefront of sustainable technology in the automotive industry.

Gamers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia will be able to download a free Sims 3 ‘Electric Vehicle Pack' from next month. It comprises various environmentally friendly items, including the Z.E vehicle and solar panels for their simulated homes.

Users will be encouraged to download the update with the offer of reduced weekly virtual household bills. The first car
to be made available will be the Twizy Z.E Concept car, with the rest of the range to follow over the next 12 months.

Companies that have previously tied up with The Sims 3 include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and Adidas. However, the deal with Renault is the game's first global partnership. It was negotiated by Renault's sponsorship and content agency, OMD Fuse International.

‘Electric vehicles are going to appeal to younger, more socially conscious customers and especially early adopters,' said Stephen Norman, senior vice-president of global marketing at Renault. ‘This is the heartland of The Sims 3 community.'

Renault has previously promoted its plans in the electric vehicle sector with a TV ad introducing the brand strapline ‘Drive the change'.

However, the ad, by Publicis, was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming its cars produce ‘zero emissions' when they are likely to be charged using energy sourced from the UK's National Grid.

Separately, Renault UK is planning an ad campaign in May to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of its Clio supermini. The car, which spawned a series of ads in the 90s featuring the characters ‘Papa' and ‘Nicole', a French father and daughter, is one of the marque's biggest-selling models. Renault has sold more than 1m in the UK.

UK marketing director Phil York said any advertising and dealership marketing activity was likely to hark back to the classic ads, which ran from 1991 to 1998.

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