By on August 5, 2008

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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11 Comments on “Nissan Borats the Cumquat. Is Nice? No....”

  • avatar

    Hm. I thought it was rather cute. Too bad the music was from a wrong region. It would be even better if the background music was from Tatry (of which Zakopane is the central town).

    You will find characters like that anywhere – good-natured Joe Zakopane or Billy Bob who will perform stunts for the amusement of his buddies. In fact, this little snippet would fit very well on Bill Engval’s “Country Fried Videos”. Come to think of it, you could find in this character Joe Zakopane a parody of Steve McGranahan, “The World’s Strongest Redneck”.

    If you look at the comments from Poles underneath the video on YouTube, they are all “thumbs up”. Perhaps Poles are not as uptight and “PC” as we have become here.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Rednecks are universal. How do you say ” hold my beer and watch this” in Polish.

  • avatar

    Borat’s bar sing-a-long was much better…

  • avatar

    Andy D wrote:
    How do you say ”hold my beer and watch this” in Polish.

    They wouldn’t, they’re no dummies. You would carefully hold your beer in one hand, and then you would say, “zobacz” (“watch this”).

    Same effects, though. ;)

  • avatar

    How is this any different from the Dodge Hemi rednecks stereotyped in their TV commercials? Lighten up, already.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Generally speaking, those who say one should lighten up have a point. I don’t like PC one bit. I like my Lenny Bruce, my George Carlin, my Dave Chapelle, my Chris Rock as much as the next guy. Taboo-breaking comedy is often hilarious and useful. Hell, I can even appreciate some of the stuff Sarah Silverman does. But I don’t like it when companies/creative advertising guys try to cash in on “in your face” humor. I don’t want the latest Buick presented by some half-assed Lenny Bruce. That would be creepy.

    I too, find the Joe Zakopane video pretty charming, and I think it’s great that the Poles react according to their tradition of appreciation of absurdist comedy. I just think it’s bad business policy for Nissan to do this.

  • avatar

    I liked it and saw no harm done (except to teeth).

  • avatar

    what about that car? It got wrecked! Oh, the waste! Oh, the carbon footprint!

  • avatar

    This is gentle inoffensive humour of the most benign kind. A long way from “evil”.

  • avatar

    Let’s face it we need a bit of humour in this bloody world – grin and bear it

  • avatar

    not only is it offensive, its stupid.

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