This 90-second Nissan ad is a huge, huge overall branding push - with a (negotiated) price of about $10-million just for the media, it needs to connect a lot of dots and hit the right notes to earn its worth.
It is admittedly pretty touching, and themes such as bonding with a distant father are highly universal. The scenes are also uniquely Nissan. You could not switch out the brand or product easily, which is a sign of good creative. The same cannot be said for Kia Motors Pierce Brosnan ad, or even the touching Jeep Renegade spot.
When the ad theme is more powerful than the brand, it is sometimes called 'vampire creativity' by sucking the life out of the brand impact. That is definitely not the case in the #WithDad spot, thanks to exhaustive imagery from Nissan race cars battling with Porsche and BMW's (in a not-so-subtle positioning effort).
The big news is all about creating Nissan brand passion via near-term model launches. The new GT-R LM Nismo racecar makes a few cool cameo's, and the highlight of the spot is dad picking up kid at school in the all-new, production-spec 2016 Maxima.
These are his wheels when not racing, evidently.
One wonders if the heartstrings pluck is as effective as a full spot showing the LeMans racer and the new Maxima. There is no mention of the new Maxima actually being a sports car, let alone a 4DSC, but that may be implied.
The LM GT-R is front-drive, as is the Maxima. Seems like a no-brainer to link the two. Odd miss, in that aspect, for appealing to actual sports-car fans.
The ad tries hard to create Nissan brand allure beyond the cars - with women and moms especially.
#WithDad tries to do quite a bit of complex thematic evolution and brand development across too many touch-points, in our opinion, to be a big hit.
You would never watch it twice by choice.
If we are really nit-picking, the time-lapse does not make sense. Dad is racing in 2015 cars while kid is 5-years-old, and in 2015 cars when kid is 15-years-old. It whirs by in the rush of Super Bowl TV ad viewing environments, but still is a weird choice on their part.
But overall, despite the strange effect the crash sequence has on viewers, this ad is a strong effort on Nissan's part.
We believe this was the work of longtime creative partners Chiat Day out of Los Angeles, but could be mistaken. (Sidenote: Chiat Day has almost no other big clients.)
Overall, how does the new Maxima look in its five seconds of glory? Pretty good! Hard to see much detail, but still very promising take on the Sports Sedan Concept shown a year ago.
The production 2016 Nissan Maxima is expected in the next few weeks with a global reveal in Chicago.
2016 Nissan Maxima #WithDad