Today we’re highlighting a campaign by Infiniti back in 2001 to promote the third generation of its Q45 luxury sedan. At the time, it was Infiniti’s flagship sedan, after all.
What does every luxury car need? Its own domain, of course! And Infiniti came through with http://www.TheNewQ.com.
The domain appeared in several ads, including this one in late 2000:
Sure enough, the bottom right-hand corner of the ad subtly suggests you visit TheNewQ.com.
A little later, in March 2001 magazines, Infiniti had this single-page ad that ups the stakes with a website that’s even more enticing:
For this ad, you can see that Infiniti added a subsection to their new domain, encouraging people to go to TheNewQ.com/ComingSoon. In its own right, it was a pretty advanced car for the time (I always loved those headlight clusters!). Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a close-up of that URL:
My favorite ads that were part of this campaign came in the form of a glossy multi-page spread that appeared in a May 2001 magazine.
The first page starts out simply enough, with a concrete-like background and simply “TheNewQ/” printed in a clear font. But it’s the slash that Infiniti wants us to pay attention to.
That’s because, as you turn the page, we’re introduced to the first of several “slash” subsections. This first one uses a cute cheetah (I think that’s a cheetah?) riding shotgun as the big Q blasts across what appears to be salt flats in a spiffy two-page spread.
The upper right-hand corner directs us to visit TheNewQ.com/340horspeowerV8. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but not an impossible URL.
Now, before we try to see if that URL still exists today, I think it’s worth pointing out that the campaign may have been intentionally poking fun at ridiculous web addresses. Surely someone at Infiniti must have noticed how silly that URL is. Is anyone really going to bother with typing all of that into an address bar (except determined URL hunters like me)? And it could be that the entire campaign was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek jab at an increasingly internet-ified world.
Despite the possible humorous intentions, I imagine that there were still many people trying to look up the site.
Flip the page and we’re greeted with more wildlife, this time in the form of a cockatoo trying to use the car’s navigation system. Check out the sea of white plastic and leather, punctuated with tasteful accents of lacquered birch (or maple?) wood. Oh, and the Bose tape deck – sweet!
Once again, we’re prompted to enter a verbose website, this time TheNewQ.com/VoiceRecognition.
A final flip of the page gives us more details about those trick headlights on the Q45. Apparently, they’re bright enough to attract the attention of every moth for three counties.
Then there’s the URL. TheNewQ.com/WorldsMostPowerfulHeadlights.
This one’s nearly comical in its length at a full 40 characters. And that doesn’t even include the http://www.
I’d love to know how many people actually typed all of that to find out about, um, headlights.
But Infiniti wasn’t done touting the technical highlights of the new Q45 with just that massive ad spread. A while later, in July of 2001, there was this two-page spread emphasizing the car’s back-up camera.
While back-up cameras are ubiquitous today, they were still pretty novel back in 2001. The feature was certainly deserving of its own URL, even if it is a mouthful:
Again, is anyone going to really bother to type www.TheNewQ.com/RearViewMonitor into a browser? I would love to know what the metrics were on those subsections. And were there any other URLs from other ads that I’m missing? (If anyone at Infiniti wants to share that information, you know how to reach me.)
So after all that, does TheNewQ.com still exist today?
Ugh! What a disappointment! I took this screenshot on June 21, 2020 — about 13 years after the advertising campaign. And since the primary domain (www.TheNewQ.com) goes nowhere, all of those amazingly verbose subdomains are lost to the world, too.
The worst part of it may be that, after a quick check of whois.com, we see that Nissan North America still owns the site.
I get that Infiniti has been struggling a bit with brand identity over the last few years, but all of their model names now begin with the letter Q. Why not embrace the heritage of that naming convention by showcasing the Q car that started it all?
In any regard, thank you Infiniti for giving us a fun ride through TheNewQ.com/SomeOfTheMostRidiculousWebSitesWeveEverSeen.
(And look! I made it through this whole post without making a single Star Trek/Picard/Q joke! Winning!)