by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) I’m generally wary of car ads that use dangerous stunts and high-speed driving to illustrate ‘the thrill’ of the drive, as if that’s the most important consideration when buying a car.

Considering our country’s road safety record, it’s like advertising an alcoholic beverage on the basis of how quickly it’ll get you drunk, or — I don’t know —a rugby team on the basis of how many bruises it inflicts on its opponents. It’s hard to come up with an analogy, because cars have a unique place in our lives: they are seen as a necessity for certain lifestyles, they are a status symbol and they become ‘part of the family’ (inasmuch as a mechanical item can).

Wax lyrical

Perhaps one day we’ll wax lyrical over the various merits of our personal robot as much as we do over our cars. Much as I love Top Gear, I have seen too many (often young) lives destroyed by reckless driving, so I wish the motoring industry could find something else than speed, power and handling to focus on as USPs.

That said, I think the following ad turns the model on its head.

TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris TVC for Nissan Almera: “Dad’s Approval”

This ad is full of electrifying stunts and advanced-driver techniques, but it takes the whole ‘thrill of the ride’ into a satirical dimension, with a great reversal of roles: the conservative father executes the stunts, while the youngster is in shock.

The ad starts with a young man pulling up to his father’s workplace, on the docks, to show him his proud new acquisition: a Nissan Almera — one of the Next Generation models. “So, what do you think, Dad?” asks the well-dressed dude. Dad kicks the tyres, but doesn’t look impressed. Son hands Dad the keys with a twinkle in his eye.

Inside the car, Dad turns up the radio and some funky blues-rock plays. Dad does a high-speed reverse handbrake turn, slams the car into first and heads towards a ramp that goes up against a stack of shipping containers, six high. Son’s face shows pure terror.

Realm of fantasy

Nissan Almera Dad's Approval TVC screengrab - Jozi skylineHere we enter into the realm of fantasy: the car ramps into the air, does an aerial flip [with a gorgeous view of Jozi’s skyline in the background — ed-at-large] and lands neatly on a container held aloft by a crane, then goes flying through a gap in two containers, vaults over a flatbed truck and lands with a bounce and a skid.

Now Dad looks impressed. He gives his son an approving nod, but the latter is still in a state of shock. The voice-over is “The next generation Nissan Almera. For the next generation you. Nissan — innovation that excites.”

So, yes, this ad is similar to many others that demonstrate power and handling in a stunt-driver way. It doesn’t mention any of the safety features, the roominess or the luxury of the interior. But, then again, if you’re looking for a car, those are features you’re going to find out at the showroom.

Redeeming factor

The redeeming factor in this ad is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously [and the music is a perfect fit, too — ed-at-large]. The Almera might be perceived as an executive model — it is roomy, with a wide wheel-base, and has all the trimmings of a modern sedan. But, this ad seems to be saying, it can still be ‘fun’ to drive, easy to manoeuvre and solid on the road.

Nissan Almera Dad's Approval TVC screengrab: scared sonThe agency behind the ad is TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, with creative director Charles Pantland and chief creative officer Peter Khoury at the helm, and art direction by Melanie Moore.

Film production was by Slim from Egg, and post production by Sinister — who we can safely assume were responsible for all the flying effects.

I have enjoyed reviewing the ad, just to catch all the expressions on the son’s face. His performance isn’t over-the-top, but there are moments that give one a good giggle.

Entertaining ‘mini-movie’

By turning the ‘generation gap’ concept on its head, Nissan Almera’s “Dad’s Approval” advert manages to break the mould of excessively stunt-driven car ads, and create an entertaining ‘mini-movie’ that stands up to repeated viewing.


Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.

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