And the Oscar for Cheesiest Auto Advertising goes to...
By David Menzies for MSN Autos
Much like a Super Bowl telecast, part of the fun of watching the Oscars is getting to view some innovative ads. Granted, it was slim pickings last night. But one advertiser did manage to stand out for all the wrong reasons: Nissan.
Indeed, Nissan’s ads for its Frontier pickup truck and Leaf electric car were so downright stupid and cheesy one wonders what Nissan’s ad agency is thinking these days.
The Frontier ad depicts a red pickup truck hurtling down a steep, snow-covered mountain as if it were a vehicular-shaped snowboard. The truck then catapults a few hundred feet into the air, performing a somersault before returning to terra firma and landing perfectly on all four wheels. (Naturally, several microscopic fine-print disclaimers warn potential Darwin Award candidates not to attempt such a stunt given that the whole endeavour is a CGI fantasy.)
At the conclusion of the ad, the narrator intones: “The midsize Nissan Frontier; full-size capability. Innovation for doers. Innovation for all.”
The words ring hollow, of course, because if the ad was reaching out to “doers” in need of a midsize pickup that can do the work of a full-size truck, then why not actually show a bona fide act of power (i.e., the Frontier towing something massive)?
Nissan later ramps up the fromage factor with its spot for its whiz-bang Leaf. This ad depicts a polar bear (more CGI fakery, alas) walking thousands of kilometres south from the Arctic Circle. The reason? To hug a suburbanite who has just purchased a Leaf – presumably for helping to save the planet by choosing a vehicle that has no tailpipe.
Such an ad might work if it was played for laughs. But the polar bear hugging the morning commuter scene is actually depicted as some sort of misty-eyed feel-good moment. The rubes at home are supposed to be going, “Awww... isn’t that sweet?” Instead, we’re actually lunging for barf bags.
The really sad thing about Nissan’s abysmal ad creative these days is that this company used to run some superb spots yester-decade. Indeed, the “Toys” spot from 1996 – which featured a Van Halen soundtrack as well as an ironic take on sports-car-as-babe-magnet – wasn’t just the best automotive ad of that year, it was also the best TV ad of 1996.
Granted, only a fool would judge the pedigree of a car by its advertising. But it’s sad to see Nissan’s creative go from cutting-edge hip to being more cheesy than a bucket of Bulgarian feta.