Nissan's Truck Ad Pays Homage to Chevy, Ford, Dodge

90-Second Spot That Debuted During College Football Championship

By E.J. Schultz. Published on Jan 12, 2016

Editor's Pick

As Nissan seeks a bigger foothold in the sizzling pickup truck market, the Japanese automaker is making an unusual call-out to more dominant U.S. brands. But whether or not the first TV ad for the all-new Titan XD comes off as a tribute to Chevy, Ford and Dodge -- or a backhanded compliment -- will be left to viewers to decide.

The campaign, created out of TBWA/Chiat/Day, broke Monday night during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on ESPN. Directed by Mark Molloy via Smuggler, the 90-second ad, called "Shoulders of Giants," begins with an emotional tone, showing children idolizing parents, firefighters, astronauts and athletes. Then, the kicker: "To those who go before us -- Chevy, Ford, Dodge. Thank you. We see the way forward."

At first glance the ad might appear to be taking a subtle shot at the competition. After all, the Chevy, Ford and Dodge trucks shown are all old and a bit dusty. Meanwhile, Nissan's Titan XD appears at the end of the ad bright and shiny, barreling out of a garage into a scenic mountain range.

But Nissan executives said the ad is meant to honor their more established foes, rather than bash them, and truck enthusiasts who watch the ad closely will get that. "We know and understand in the truck world that you have to show respect to earn respect of a typical truck buyer," said Fred Diaz, Nissan North America's division VP and general manager for trucks and light commercial vehicles. "And we wanted to to do that in a very true and authentic way without it at all coming across that we are giving a backhanded compliment to our competitors."

The older trucks in the ad were picked because "those trucks are actually icons in truck culture, so each one of them represents an evolution for trucks," said Jeremy Tucker, Nissan North America's VP of marketing communications and media.

The competing trucks shown include the 1972 Chevy C10, which was known for bridging the gap between a work truck and a daily driving vehicle, Nissan executives said. Also shown is a 1985 Dodge truck that was the first truck with a Cummins diesel engine (the Titan XD uses a Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel); and a 1995 Ford F-150 that was co-branded with Eddie Bauer and a had a luxury interior, Nissan executives said.

"Each of these trucks are worthy of genuine recognition. And from a Nissan perspective, we look forward to being included among them in the future," Mr. Tucker said.

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Jan 12, 2016
TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles
Senior VP Sales & Marketing & Operations, NNA:
Christian Meunier
VP and General Manager, Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, NNA:
Fred Diaz
VP Marketing Communications & Media:
Jeremy Tucker
Director of Marketing Communications:
Erich Marx
Senior Manager of Marketing Communications:
Terri Welch
Senior Planner of Marketing Communications:
Casey Kilmer
Chief Creative Officer:
Stephen Butler
Creative Director:
Liz Levy
Creative Director:
Jason Locey
Scott Reedy
ACD/Art Director:
Chase Madrid
Senior Copywriter:
Mike Yagi
Senior Art Director:
Jerry Gentile
Chief Production Officer:
Tanya LeSieur
Director of Production:
Brian O'Rourke
Senior Producer:
Carrie Schaer
Associate Producer:
Alex Dossett
Managing Director:
Andrew Dauska
Brand Director:
Patrick Jones
Brand Director:
Val Tyll
Brand Manager:
Dana Fors
Brand Manager:
Shawn Hartwig
Associate Brand Manager:
Sharon Hsu
Group Planning Director:
Don Rohn
Planning Director:
Leigh Davidson
Product Strategy Director:
Joel Weeks
Product Strategy Manager:
Andy Galvin
Product Strategy Associate Manager:
Christian Uka
Product Strategy Associate Manager:
Chris Ellis
Director of Business Affairs:
Linda Daubson
Executive Business Affairs Manager:
Robin Rossi
Traffic Director:
Dessiah Maxwell
Traffic Operations Manager:
Gus Mejia
Project Manager:
Susan Cucura
Production Company:
Mark Molloy
Patrick Milling Smith
Brian Carmody
Executive Producer:
Shannon Jones
Head of Production:
Andrew Colon
Line Producer:
Donald Taylor
Director of Photography:
Chayse Irvin
Stewart Reeves
Assistant Editor:
Jasmina Zaharieva
Assistant Editor:
Ronnie Shatto
Executive Producer:
Angela Dorian
Leah Carnahan
Visual Effects:
Visual Effects Supervisor:
Urs Furrer
CG Supervisor:
Andy Wilkoff
2D VFX Artist:
Matt Sousa
2D VFX Artist:
Andy Rafael Barrios
2D VFX Artist:
Stefan Gaillot
2D VFX Artist:
Christel Hazard
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Tim Kadowaki
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Jenny Park
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Tom Briggs
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Paulo deAlmada
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Michael Cardenas
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Michael Bettinardi
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Gabe Sanchez
3D Visual Effects Artist:
Dan Ellis
Executive Producer:
Patrick Nugent
Stacy Kessler-Aungst
Head of Production:
Kim Christensen
Mark Gethin
Executive Producer:
Meghan Lang
Sound Design:
Sound Designer:
Gus Koven
Executive Producer:
Ceinwyn Clark
Sound Designer:
Kristina Iwankiw
Original Score:
Barking Owl
Creative Director:
Kelly Bayett
Seth Olinsky
Music Editor:
Houston Fry
Associate Producer:
KC Dossett
Margarita Mix
Jimmy Hite

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