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GT Academy

GT Academy wins two ‘CAMPAIGN’ Media Awards

London, 30 November 2011 – Nissan Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s GT Academy competition has won ‘Best Media and Entertainment Campaign’ and ‘Best Transport Campaign’ at the UK’s ‘Campaign’ magazine Media Awards. Campaign is the must-read magazine of the UK advertising industry and the prestigious ‘gongs’ will now sit alongside the Cannes Gold Lion for ‘Best Use of Branded Content’ and Gold ‘Best International Campaign’, UK Media Awards that the GT Academy programme has achieved this year.

The Campaign awards glossy brochure summed up GT Academy 2010 as follows: “NISSAN makes amazing sports cars but lacked the heritage and fanatical following of other marques. At the same time, SONY PlayStation® was looking at how to broaden the appeal of its Gran Turismo®5 game to non-traditional gamers. The result was the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy, a global initiative to find a brilliant Gran Turismo gamer and turn them into a racing driver to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Twenty gamers were taken to an intensive training school at Silverstone, where their progress was recorded and made available online. At the same time, journalists were invited to take part in a similar academy, ensuring mainstream and specialist press coverage.

Footage was turned into a 6 part television series broadcast on Channel 4 and distributed to 160 countries. Estimated global media value of the campaign is more than £30 million.”

In addition to the prestigious marketing awards won by the innovative virtual-to-real-racer competition, the ‘alumni’ of the GT Academy have been picking up a number of awards for themselves. Lucas Ordoñez, the Spanish winner of the competition in 2008, went on to claim second place in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour LMP2 class with the Nissan Signatech Team before winning the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title. The 2010 winner, Frenchman Jordan Tresson, took the honours with his Nissan 370Z GT4 team-mates in this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Briton Jann Mardenborough, crowned 2011 GT Academy champion at Silverstone in June, has just completed his intensive five-month Driver Development Programme. He recorded several race wins along the way and will head to Dubai in January to compete in the Dubai 24 Hours in a Nissan 370Z GT4.

“These awards are a welcome recognition of the success of the GT Academy programme,” commented Nissan International’s European chief marketing manager for sports cars, Darren Cox. “It is great to be recognised for living the Nissan promise of ‘Innovation and Excitement for Everyone’, but we also take immense pride and satisfaction from watching our GT Academy champions winning races and championships in Nissan cars. GT Academy goes way beyond a marketing programme for Nissan and has become a central strand of our very successful motor sport programme this year.”

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Executive Vice President, Simon Rutter added: "GT Academy is a fantastic programme that delivers great content across multiple channels but also demonstrates the depth of PlayStation’s rich, innovative experiences. We have shown that there are Gran Turismo 5 gamers out there with the potential to become real-life, lightning-fast racing drivers. It is great to get this award. GT Academy is getting better each year thanks to the great team of people pulling it together."