Nissan’s Best Ad: Innovation, Maximum Maxima And Daddy

August 26, 2010

Society places labels on us all, branding us for years, decades and even lifetimes with monikers such as “lazy”, “geek”, “winner”, “dullard”, “genius” and the always popular “expendable” (that last one coming from my dark and bitter time spent in the corporate world).

So while living, breathing and exemplifying the label of “irresponsible, hairy male masquerading as a father ” by spending far too much time in front of the computer and the TV simultaneously (because sports AND Futurama were on), I actually came across an interesting story on the Media Decoder blog on the NY Times about Nissan’s “shift” in advertising direction. It's moving from its multi-year Shift campaign to a new Innovation for all campaign that will infuse some much needed humor together with their typically well-filmed ads to highlight a heavily revised product lineup in the coming years.

And it can’t come a moment too soon because, in my humble opinion, Nissan hasn’t made too many standout commercials as of late and the Shift campaign is quite long in the tooth. Nissan’s products are also getting more interesting and a new campaign jives well with it. Between the Nissan Leaf, the Juke, and soon a pretty nicely restyled Quest minivan, this Nipponese company is on the march. And they have a great ad to showcase this change of tone and style.

The ad that struck a chord with me is the one with the soon-to-be-dad who has the sudden, horrible realization that his first baby, his Nissan 370Z, will have to make way for the new baby, and all that goes with it, like soul and morale destroying practical things. Like pedestrian sedans. He understands that his youth, his boyish exuberance, his fun--they are all history. There are millions of daddies who could empathize with the dad because they saw their youth go out the window when they heard “you're going to be a daddy!" (Translation: No more fun cars for you!)

So what makes this ad so good? The blues music that plays as the soundtrack is a nice touch if a bit derivative (I would have preferred “Working In a Coal Mine”), but it’s how the dad discovers he doesn’t have to give up his fun ride by simply stretching the curvaceous 370Z into a 4-door sports car. This is a dream I have certainly had. It’s a great use of CGI in a commercial for storytelling purposes. And this subtle creative innovation makes the commercial a real keeper. It all just works.

Enjoy the ad, and look for more good stuff from Nissan in their new ad campaign.

[Media Decoder, NY Times]

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