Nissan to Ad Agencies: "It Takes Brass Balls to Sell Cars!"

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
nissan to ad agencies it takes brass balls to sell cars

Nissan’s U.S. sales boss delivered some Glengarry Glen Ross-style “motivation” to its ad agencies in order to pump up the brand’s weak messaging via a new campaign.

Christian Meunier, who took control of Nissan’s U.S. sales and marketing in January, dressed down a roomful of agency reps a week into his new job, according to Automotive News (via Ad Age).

The automaker’s dedicated ad unit, consisting of a number of Onmicon agencies, was told by Meunier that their ideas were utter crap. Or, in his words:

“I challenged them. I locked them in a room for a week in New York, and came back after a week and it was still shit. I came back after two weeks and it was still shit.”

You can catch flies with honey, but it doesn’t seem to do much for marketing materials. Nissan’s new ad campaign, which will hit consumers in May, came about after Meunier delivered an Alec Baldwin-worthy ultimatum.

“I said, ‘You guys better deliver something. You’d better come to Nashville next week with a plan that works.’ And they came back with a very good plan.”

The Nissan Motor Company hasn’t fallen on hard times. Its sales have risen every year since the depths of the recession, hitting nearly 1.5 million in the U.S. last year.

That’s isn’t the problem, however.

The problem, Meunier told the reps, was that people don’t really know what Nissan is all about. It isn’t the fun-loving, perpetually adolescent Honda, or the respectable, slightly stodgy Toyota. In marketing terms, Nissan suffers from weak brand identity.

The ad campaign crafted by the unit’s members — no doubt with shirt sleeves rolled up and brows beaded with perspiration — is currently in the consumer test phase. Dealers also get a say before it goes live.

What will the ads contain? Well, besides the brand’s lineup of sedans and SUVs … no one knows. But if it pleased a guy like Meunier, it has to be above par.

It had better be.

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  • Seth1065 Seth1065 on Mar 30, 2016

    Well to be fair , no one may know who they are and maybe they do not either but their sales are up , I am sure there are a number of auto companies who would be very happy to be Nissan. Maybe they are/ will be the car company that rules the Latino market and that is not a bad place to be in the US. I am sure VW for one would love to have this problem.

  • Amancuso Amancuso on Mar 30, 2016

    I don't like any of Nissan's US offerings. My Dad however is a Nissan aficionado due to a 300ZX he loves. Thats a great sports car but the Murano he had was a huge pile of crap that rusted from the inside out, and the Rogue he replaced it wth, well the less said about that, the better.

  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
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