Video: Nissan Juke, Face Like a Pug, But the Heart of a Warrior

October 5, 2010
While “dining” with my children at McDonald’s and concurrently clogging an artery and raising my sodium to levels not seen since in humanity since Lot’s wife made the mistake of looking back at silly old Sodom, I found myself eating the same thing I usually do, and was wondering will McDonald’s ever innovate and make something I’d want to eat that was not something in burger form. Or laden with “special sauce.”

And then a short while later, my brain hopped on to an adjacent track and thanks to a great tip from a friend I watched the latest Nissan Juke ad that is part of their Innovation for All ad campaign. As I commented back in the summer, it’s meant to show how innovative Nissan is as a company, to make you think of the brand as not just sporty, but also at the cutting edge.

Nissan knows full well who the target audience is for this vehicle, one that cannot be easily categorized (which could be good and bad). It’s aimed at youth, or people without kids who just need to look cool, different, and who quite honestly don’t care what other people think of them. Why else would you drive a car that looks like a Manga version of a pug? Let’s skip the aesthetic debate for now.

Nissan has gone to great lengths to make this a car ad that really hits its target audience. Before I dissect it like a lab rat, let me say this: It’s a fun ad to watch for the special effects, and if you like CG stuff like I do, you will be impressed with the level of detail, texture and editing to know this is a mini-film as much as an ad. Some major computing power went into making this story come alive through the use of 3D graphics, especially if you watch in HD.

Now there is little negative to say about the ad, except for the hokey wizard-ish face of the story-teller at the beginning and end of the video, that could have been left on the cutting room floor. But the rest of it really works for the target audience. Since mostly people under 35 will buy the turbocharged, front- or all-wheel-drive pocket rocket (177 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque), Nissan knows these people have grown up on video game consoles and have seen more CG movies than ones with real actors. They also have lived through the Manga TV shows and movies not to mention Lord of the Rings, so the storyline about the heart of a hero will resonate with them. And when these youth actually check out this car on the Web, they will see what a unique technological power-pack this car really is. Maybe the MINI Countryman comes close, but it’ll be way more expensive.

So the ad really does serve to drive home the branding message that Nissan is unique, an innovator, and just plain different. Nissan is on a roll.

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