Nissan Borats the Cumquat. Is Nice? No.

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer

Suppose you are British, work for an ad agency, and your client wants you to promote an inoffensive but generic soft-ute with a vegetably name, so that it (the Nissan Qashqai) seems interesting, even sexy. Why, you'd go for Viral Marketing, as one does, and maybe even poke some cheap fun at eastern Europeans, just like Borat did! This YouTube video is but one of several "quirky" attempts to make the car that Clarkson calls the Cumquat seem both competent (look how it scales walls!) and non-generic. Does it work? Maybe– the idea of a Polish Harry Houdini works better than it sounds. Does it hurt feelings? Probably. Note to Nissan: when your uncle tries to pull off some Polish jokes after three martoonies, you grin and bear it, because you love him. And SB Cohen is OK because he employs subversive humor to show the darker side of frat boys and antisemitic cowboys. But when a company portrays Poles as dumb hicks in an attempt to push more product, it's plain evil.

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