Nissan Do Brasil Gets Aggressive

Marcelo de Vasconcellos
by Marcelo de Vasconcellos
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here

In a new ad sponsoring all kinds of programs, on regular and cable TV, Nissan is taking the competition by the horns. In their new ad touting their Livina 2011 (pics here), they directly attack GM, Honda and Fiat. Yes, they cite their competitors by name and even put their logos and cars in the ad.

In Brazil, this is almost unheard of. Back in the 90s Pepsi did a South American version of the coke wars. Some beer companies soon copycatted them. However, the ads were pulled quickly and I had the impression people were not impressed with such tactics.

GM for one has already sought judicial relief according to Brazilian car mag’s Auto Esporte blog page. GM entered a petition against Nissan at CONAR (the ad industry’s self-regulating national council) asking it to pull the ad. So far Fiat and Honda have not responded. As I was writing this story, the ad had been pulled (according to Brazilian economic magazine Exame’s news portal). In its official response, Nissan informs it obeyed CONAR’s determination and pulled the ad off the airways immediately. However, as Nissan points out, the public enjoyed it and the ad was seen more than 122 thousand times on-line.

In related news, Nissan is also being sued by Toyota and VW. In a previous ad promoting its Nissan Frontier pickup, Nissan attacked two unnamed competitors. This commercial was a little more subtle and didn’t name names or show competitors’ logos (at least not directly, if you pay attention you’ll see them at odd angles). However, to the Brazilian consumer it was clear that the targets were Toyo and VeeDub (according to the Brazilian car site Seminovos). As to this commercial I don’t have any news as to it being banned or not.

Of course the Livina ad is done in good humor and hits its objective. People remember it and talk about it. Nissan is almost absent from Brazilians’ mind space, so I think they are doing it in order to gain some name recognition. Up until now, Nissan ads in Brazil have been really tame and forgettable. I would also bet that what they are trying to do is beat the drums and call attention to the launch of their compact (or subcompact) model March (according to Auto Esporte) at the São Paulo Car Show, which will open its doors soon. The March is mission critical for Nissan, as it will vie against the cars that hold 50 percent of sales in Brazil (VW Gol, Fiat Uno and Palio, Ford Ka and Fiesta, Chevy Corsa and Celta, Renault Sandero and Peugeot 207, among other less remembered like Kia’s Picanto and diverse Chinese).

So what do you say of Nissan’s strategy? Smart and savvy or do such tactics backfire?

Marcelo de Vasconcellos
Marcelo de Vasconcellos

More by Marcelo de Vasconcellos

Join the conversation
  • Dimwit Dimwit on Oct 01, 2010

    That's pretty good! Love the FIAT guy laughing at his boss. Don't know what that says about FIAT. Marcelo, can you keep an eye on this? It would be interesting to see if this works. The fact that they do name recognition I think is a strength and makes an ok add into something memorable.

    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Oct 01, 2010

      I think so . too. I think in the part they poke fun at Fiat, the guy laughing at the end is interpreted as a Brazilian employee ('cause his Portuguese is perfect) and that Brazilians don't really give a damn about their bosses. It also takes into account the positive views Brazilians have of Italians as good natured guys. It shoes how subconsciously, even if Fiat is recognized as Italian, Brazilians think of Fiat as a real Brazilian company. Maybe that's why Fiat didn't complain, they don't come out too bad!!

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?