Tag Archives: Nissan

March Marketing Madness: Nissan, Chevy, Dodge

Nissan’s Snowy Deja Vu
  It’s certainly been a winter for record-breaking snow and nasty weather. So maybe it’s no surprise that Nissan used a snowy street scene with snowmen for a TV commercial to launch its redesigned 2014 Rogue.
The spot, which aired first in Canada and then in the USA touts the all-wheel-drive of the new Rogue compact SUV. TBWA created the commercial, dubbed “Winter Warrior.” Both the :60 and :30 versions show evil snowmen attacking a Rogue driver on a snowy street. The production resembles a thrilling movie chase scene. The motorist manages to escape, naturally, because of the AWD system.
Have a look if you haven’t seen it yet


It is a pretty fun spot that shows off the Rogue’s drivability on snow-covered roads and cleverly sneaks in its three-row seating.
The only problem is that this commercial is so VERY similar to one American Suzuki had a few years back for the all-wheel-drive version of its Kizashi sport sedan. Suzuki’s commercial, called Wicked Weather,” ran in 14 key US markets during the Super Bowl in 2011. So it got pretty good exposure. And it ran tons of other times before and after the Big Game. Even Suzuki’s snowmen, created by Siltanen & Partners, look an awfully lot like Nissan’s.
Judge for yourself

TBWA creatives could have dreamed this one up on their own. Or could it be that somewhere in the back of their brain’s memory file there was a glint recalling an ad with snowmen attacking a car with AWD?
Coincidence? We may never know, but you have to admit the executions are very, very close.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. isn’t likely to make much of a ruckus. The automaker is phasing out its car sales operations here in Chapter 11 bankruptcy court.
Chevy’s Crazy Kids
Speaking of coincidences, a Chevrolet Cruze commercial is getting lots of attention- in a good way. The spot, called “Speed Chaser,” for the Cruze broke during the Academy Awards broadcast and was made for a mere $4,000.
The :60 spot was created by South independent Korean filmmaker Jude Chun, who bested 72 other submissions from around the world in Chevy’s MOFILM , a global community of indie filmmakers. It shows children making the commercial, using props and special effects. The ad has a written on-screen disclaimer: “Children should not play in or around vehicles.” That was probably added by GM lawyers.
In one scene, one of the kids uses his hands to flip over a model-size Cruze, much to the dismay of a young female back-seat passenger. Have a peek

Many ads with cute children are well received with viewers and this one is no different. But Chevy got into big hot water in 2004 for a slick Corvette commercial that broke during the Summer Olympics. Called “A Boy’s Dream,” it showed a young boy putting the sports car through its paces, even taking the Vette airborn as a young girl behind the wheel of another Vette passes him in mid-air going in the other direction. It only ran once. General Motors quickly buckled under pressure from safety and advocacy groups afraid young kids would try to drive their parents’ cars like banchees.
It was a mistake in my mind to pull the ad from Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan because it was clearly a dream sequence. If your kid doesn’t know the difference between reality and dreams you have bigger problems than this commercial.

Yes, this ad also had a written, on-screen disclaimer:  “This is a dream. Do not drive without a license. Obey all traffic laws.”
What a difference a decade makes, eh?
Dodge’s New Celeb Mouth
When it comes to Chrysler Group ads, one can expect to see celebrities.
Now here comes Joan Rivers stumping the beauty of Dodge-brand models in regional dealer ads from Doner in suburban Detroit.

JoanRivers

They’re part of the automaker’s multi-brand “Award Season (sales) Event.”
In the spot for the Dart, Rivers touts the car’s beauty and power. “Look at the leather seats,” she coos. “They are softer than the leather on my face,” says Rivers, who regularly pokes fun at all the plastic surgery she’s had as host of “Fashion Police.”
The spots are airing through April in some 122 markets.
The comic’s appearance in the Dodge ad is shocking to a lot of people. “Are they reaching out to 70-year-olds,” wondered a Facebook poster.
The answer is no.
Rivers, whose career has spanned 5 decades, has managed to keep herself in the public eye and is winning over a younger generation. Rivers and these commercials should generate more positive buzz for Dodge.
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You can follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook

On Twitter: @jhal2001

 

Nissan’s Olympic Gold

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. made a lot of noise at its global headquarters today about  one of the most popular athletes of the 2012 Summer Games in London.

The Japanese automaker inked a deal with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who not only extends his brand ambassador deal with Nissan’s hot GT-R sports car, but he gets the outrageous title of global title “Director of Excitement” at the company.

WOW! Fun stuff.

Nissan flew Bolt in for the hoopla and posted s lots of videos (in Japanese) of his arrival at the airport, leaving the airport in the GT-R and the more formal events with corporate brass in Yokohama. Said Bolt : “Racing is my inspiration, and I want to help Nissan become an even more exciting brand for everyone.”

The carmaker said it will develop a special, limited-edition GT-R although no specifics were given. Nissan presented Bolt with a unique, gold GT-R, which will be auctioned online to benefit his Usain Bolt Foundation.

Details of that auction are due later this month and will benefit children and young adults in Jamaica.

Not usually a fan of celebrity tie-ins, but this one works since the GT-R is such a niche model. Nissan sold just 968 of them in the US in the first 9 months of 2012.

The links are almost too obvious, really. Bolt has a slew of Olympic gold medals & his special version of the car is gold. Bolt is called the fastest man in the world and the GT-R is crazy fast. The 2013 model churns out 545 horses, while still meeting ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standards.

Nissan first hooked up with Bolt early this year. Within months, Bolt, a GT-R owner since 2009, was appearing in airport ads for the car and online videos like this one for Nissan,  themed “What if you had no competition”

Smart move, Nissan.

MAKING TRACKS: General Motors Chairman-CEO CEO Dan Akerson tapped Robert Ferguson to the new position of vice president to lead Cadillac’s growth and development globally. Ferguson, 53, joined GM in 2010 and was VP for global public policy. He’ll now be responsible for Cadillac marketing, brand management and advertising around the world.

I’m sure Ferguson is a very smart and decent man. But the fact of the matter is Cadillac needs and deserves a proven player to lead it forward. There’s no time for learning curves here. That boat has sailed and Cadillac is already late.

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Nissan’s Unbelievable Frontier Ads

By Jean Halliday
Nissan North America has unleashed a couple of over-the-top TV commercials for its Frontier pickup. One of them in particular is generating lots of online buzz.
Called “Landing Gear,” the spot shows the mid-size Frontier rescuing a commercial airline with landing gear trouble.

There’s plenty of non-believers out there about the reality of Frontier’s ability to pull off this amazing feat, according to the comments on YouTube, where the commercial has already tallied a very respectable number of views- more than 305,000 in just a few weeks.
After all, the maximum towing capacity of the 2012 Frontier is rated at up to 6,500 pounds maximum, when properly equipped. Let’s estimate, conservatively, that the weight for the nose for that moving plane weighs about 30,000 pounds.
Anyone see a problem here?
It’s hard to remember the last time Nissan even advertised its mid-size pickup and it’s a mystery why it would take this route.
Then there’s the other commercial, dubbed “ Hill Climb,” showing the Frontier doing another incredible task.

Plenty of non-believers commented on YouTube about this one too. “The commercials are actually 100 percent fake, which tells you everything you need to know about the company which paid for them. You really want to buy a truck from people who have zero respect for the viewing audience?”
And finally, Nissan more recently posted this online-only video spoofing the landing gear mishap as a real news story. You can see that one here:

Nissan, and its legal beagles, have however, covered their butts on all three of these. If you look very closely- and quickly- all three videos have the small words “ Fictionalization. Do not attempt.”
So there.
The commercial is, to put it politely, a dramatization. But the words are only there for the opening 4-to-6 seconds before they disappear. Clearly the YouTube viewers debating the videos’ veracity have not spotted the disclaimer.
Why would an automaker want to show one of their products doing something it can’t really do? It insults consumers and in the end belittles the product.
Nissan could also run the risk of rival complaints for deceptive advertising to either the Federal Trade Commission or National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business.
Brings back memories of Volvo’s 1990 “Monster Truck” commercial scandal. The Volvo was the only car not crushed by a “monster truck” in that spot, but Volvo didn’t reveal in the ad that the roof of its vehicle had been reinforced. The FTC levied fines of of $150,000 against both Volvo and its then-ad agency, Scali, McCabe, Sloves in Manhattan, which got fired over the incident.
As if the buzzing online doubts about the Frontier’s abilities isn’t enough, another online grapevine is building that Nissan and its ad agency, TBWA, stole the “Landing Gear” idea from Jeep.
Ex-Chrysler marketing executive Jeff Bell was the first to sound the alarm about this, posting on Facebook: “Just shows you that 1) the people running auto marketing have either no historical awareness or 2) they have no pride and enjoy plagiarism.”
Ouch!
Decide for yourself. Here’s the cheeky viral ad Bell says Chrysler had made for Jeep of Europe:

FYI- This 405 project (www.405:themovie.com) was produced by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt for Jeep in 2000, one of very early viral videos that Yahoo Internet Life magazine called the web movie of that year.
Okay, even though the two commercials are very similar, we’re not saying TBWA took Jeep’s idea. There are coincidences. But with search portals, YouTube’s vast body of material and other sites, it’s pretty easy to check whether that Big Idea for your commercial is truly fresh.
So, I did some surfing of my own and found this very similar image in the first 10 seconds of a montage of 1970s and 1980s commercials for the Chevrolet Silverado by Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan:

Hmm, so was it Jeep that first ripped off GM’s similar idea back in 2000?
Big Ideas for advertising could be like the myth of the Christmas Fruit Cakes: there’s only seven of them in the world and they keep getting passed on.
If you’re going to do a dramatic pickup ad, you might as well go over the top, but in an entertaining way that the audience knows is fake.
One of my favorites was for Ford’s 1997 model F-150. By JWT Detroit, it broke during the 1996 Super Bowl and featured actor Jack Palance as a tough cowboy who uses the pickup and a lariat to rope a butte and close a river gorge.

Now that’s a Big Idea.

MAKING TRACKS: Eric Grenier moved to VP – Director, Enterprise at Ford’s ad agency- Team Detroit in Dearborn – from Organic.

***THIS POST first appeared in CNW Research’s most recent subscriber-only  Retail Automotive Summary.

You can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn. Also on Twitter as @jhal2001