Marketing and a Terrible Nissan Versa Commercial

 I have always been fascinated by marketing and commercials in general. I never quite understood the logic of it all. You spend all night and day trying to come up with a certain idea or vision that appeals only to a couple of people (read: executives), try to relay your message via a couple of drawings, animations, mock-ups, clearly to the point where not only do they like your idea but they support it to the point where they’re willing to spend millions of dollars on it. Fast forward a bit where everything has had 25 revisions. Legal wanted their changes, marketing wanted their changes, and one person didn’t like that something. First it was red, now make it blue…make that guy in the background look left, not right…data shows that if the logo is visible for .25 seconds longer that will lead to .5 more sales in the Southwest…change the voice over actor…blah blah blah. And then after all the micromanagement and minutiae have been dealt with and everyone that needs to be happy has signed off, who knows what it looks like. Wait, what were we selling again?

 I mention this for one simple reason; we have entered one of the greatest times of the year, and therefore one of the worst times of the year – football season, where the same commercial is played over and over and over. If it’s a good commercial, it has some tolerance, but if it’s bad, annoying, or confusing, and it plays like 30-40 times a day, you’re ready to bash your head against the wall. The only time of the year worse than football season: March Madness. Every March I fall into that Rainman “Bags fly free…bags fly free” tick. I mean, if companies spend millions of dollars researching every detail of their ad, can they at least make something watchable? I may not be your target audience, but is it too much for me to ask that you don’t make a commercial so bad that I feel dumb for wasting 30 seconds of my life? If I am left with multiple questions/concerns after 30 seconds, you my friend have failed. I am reminded of an old Saturday Night Live from 1992 hosted by PTB favorite Jerry Seinfeld. The name of the sketch was ‘Stand up and win’ where comics competed in a Jeopardy-style format to come up with the correct punch line for casual observations. Adam Sandler would always buzz in incorrectly with “Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one.”  That sketch may be 21 years old, but the commentary still rings true today.

 Ok, now let’s fast forward to your typical Sunday or Monday Night Football game in the early fall. The nation is psyched that football is back and the summer sports doldrums are long over. Beverages are chilled, chips and dip are back on the table where they belong and then right out of the gate the ad wizards struck me.

 Ah, youth, what a wonderful thing. Parental figures and their rules have been holding you back. You’re free, you’re calling the shots now, and you’re in control. Life is just one big party. You don’t have a care in the world right. What better way to heighten your youthful energy than with the new 2014 Nissan Versa! Because nothing screams fun like a low-end compact car that seats two comfortably (assuming you’re under 5’9). So, let’s take a look at these people who believe the Nissan Versa is the Goose to their Maverick.

Scene 1: Concert

  1. Why are these people firing off road flares in the middle of the day?
  2. Why do they feel the need to be dancing in the middle of them? Do they not understand the concept of hazardous materials?
  3. Is the guy in the yellow hipster hat in front of the trunk wearing a bra?
  4. Why would you leave your trunk open (with assorted groceries) while smoke bombs are going off?

Scene 2: Cabin

  1. Who is the A-hole who decided to park their car backwards in front of the cabin? There appears to be ample space in the woods to park like a normal human being.
  2. Why would you be grilling in the middle of four parked cars? Also what is he cooking? There appears to be some sort of banana or squash on the grill…in the middle of four cars.
  3. What is #60 carrying? Bath Mats and large containers of margarine?

Scene 3: Park Gathering

  1. How big of a D-bag do you need to be to go to an outdoor event and park your car in the middle of someone’s lawn or pubic park
  2. No, seriously, how big of a d-bag do you have to be? Are you telling me you can’t carry your two lawn chair and blanket more than 3 feet at a time?
  3. Ok, I am concerned. When the camera zooms in, you can see that the dash and central console is on…So why do you need to make a speedy getaway with both the trunk open and car on? What are you doing international man of mystery?

Scene 4: Beach

  1. Along with #7, how big of a d-bag do you need to be to not only drive your car onto this (presumed) private beach, but you have to drive it right up to the water.
  2. How bad of a windsurfer do you have to be to be surfing no more than 10 feet away from your car?
  3. Since you literally parked your car in the water, why would you leave the trunk open? I mean, just looking at the camera, there’s a little spray going around
  4. This may more telling than anything but if you notice, there are no tire marks anywhere to be found at the beach… So…uh…how long have you been there? Do you live in your Nissan Versa? I wonder where you sleep with that bike in there (also there are no bicycle tire marks either. So, not only do you not drive anywhere, you don’t bike anywhere either).

Scene 5: Theatre

  1. Where are these people going with their guitars? It appears they parked in front of a movie theater? Why would they feel the need to walk around with their guitars everywhere?
  2. If this is a concert venue, where are all the people?
  3. That couple crossing the street, why are they walking ¼ speed? Look at the tiny steps that woman makes. Who walks like that?
  4. How come one side of the street has multiple parked cars, but there are none in front of the theatre?


  1. Do any of these people have jobs? Because it looks like they all spend time going on vacation.
  2. Why isn’t Nissan touting any of the safety features of this vehicle? Gas mileage? Handling? Any specs about the car at all? Does it have a radio? Cup holders? Anything?

All I can tell is that with this car is I don’t want to associate myself with anyone who drives this vehicle. If you have money to purchase mountain bikes and parasails and high end pic-a-nic baskets (thank you Yogi Bear), then surely you have better sense than investing in such a vehicle. These are high-end hipsters and this is the best kind of car they can afford? I may be going out on a limb here, but this crew has the terms “loft apartment” and “mixed drinks in mason jars” written all over them and all they have is 14k for a car…and this is what they get?

So…Nissan, who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?