By on November 8, 2016

INFINITI Holiday

Now that Halloween has receded from the rear-view mirror, advertisers can really start ramping up their winter-themed commercials.

Automotive companies are particularly heavy handed at pushing advertisements highlighting “the season for giving,” without the accompanying specificity of what that phrase refers to.

Eager to cash in on the warm fuzziness of the seasonal aesthetic, Infiniti has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 35,000 new trees on behalf of drivers, and came up with a corresponding television commercial and digital campaign.

The video advertisement is satisfactory in that it hauls out all the tropes we’ve come to expect from holiday promotional material. A handsome family is inside of their warm QX60 with a pine tree of some kind (the video did not specify) strapped to the roof. Other conifers are left at the side of the road, possibly due to some local tree blight. The family drives their Infiniti into a snowy wood and the tree is planted securely into the frozen soil.

The commercial ends when little girl whispers “see you next year” to the pine and places an ornament on it for reasons we can only guess.

Honestly, the advertisement isn’t all that bad. It’s largely silent and fairly clear as to what is happening. At least, that’s what I thought before reading the accompanying press release from Infiniti’s marketing department. In it, Infiniti seemed to have genuine trouble identifying which seasonal festivals the “holiday tree” was associated with.

A TV commercial and digital campaign titled “New Tradition” kicks off the tree-planting initiative this week. In the spot, we see a young family take their QX60 to the wilderness to replant their living holiday tree, all while their neighbors are simply discarding dead trees.

Saying “happy holidays” works wonderfully when you don’t want to be presumptuous about another person’s beliefs, but you still want to wish them well for the duration of the season. I would even go so far as to say it’s downright courteous at times. However, it doesn’t work so well when you make the focal point of your ad the single most iconic secular artifact associated with a specific holiday. At that point, you need to say something determinate, because the avoidance starts to become laughable.

A bit confused as to what festival I was dealing with (tree-wise), I read on:

“The holidays can be overwhelming and full of expected clichés like big red bows and blow out sales events,” said Allyson Witherspoon, director of Marketing Communications and Media at Infiniti Americas. “This holiday season, Infiniti wanted to break these norms and empower our drivers and employees by paying it forward with these tree donations.”

Damn, I hate those holiday clichés! Among some of the most overwhelming are those itchy seasonal sweaters, decorating the holiday tree, and being forced to sing holiday carols on the anniversary of Washington crossing the Delaware. I once even had to play the Winter Man at a family seasonal gathering because my uncle got too drunk to do it himself. Talk about a bad Libyan Independence Day!

Look, there is nothing inherently wrong with Infiniti’s use of “the holidays.” I don’t believe there is actually a war on Justin Trudeau and Humphrey Bogart’s birthday, but euphemisms are comically ineffectual when you have already showcased the offending act. It’s like watching a really violent NC-17 movie where no one is allowed to curse, or owning a dairy farm but eating vegan because it’s the right thing to do.

Seasons Greetings.

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60 Comments on “Infiniti Encourages New Tradition This Holiday Season Using Indistinctive Tree...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe Infiniti should start a year-round campaign that shows their vehicles hauling various types of trees in the winter, spring, summer, and autumn.

    Nissan could show a tree on top of a Leaf. Cars have more to do with trees than they do with holidays.

    As an American Christian, fighting the ‘holiday season’ terminology is not my axe to grind.

    As for the QX60 ad, I’d argue that they placed the tree backwards on the car. That drive would bend the branches, damaging the tree. And who plants a tree in the forest, anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Same here. I cringe slightly whenever I hear “holiday” in place of Christmas, not because it bothers me, but because I know it’ll just feed the right-wing Christian martyr complex.

      • 0 avatar
        Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

        Well, Christianity sort of *is* the original big-league martyr complex.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Even as a decently devout Catholic I fully acknowledge that many “Christian Holidays” were placed on the calendar to coincide with popular pagan holidays to see if the Christians could stomp them out and replace them.

          Christians now are just seeing the same effect with the wider world. All Souls/All Saints/All Hallow’s Eve – Halloween.

          Get over yourselves.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Yes, and I’d be more inclined to agree with my pastor and the older folks in my congregation if we were actually being /martyred/, not just removed from the pedestal where we had been placed in the early 20th century. “When you’ve experienced favoritism all your life, anything less than that feels like persecution,” or something like that.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          TTAC’s refrigerator has legs now? And wears old man pants??

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “As an American Christian, fighting the ‘holiday season’ terminology is not my axe to grind.”

      I’m mostly agnostic, sometimes atheist, on rare occasions wanting to believe. No axe to grind either. Live and let live, but I understand Nissan’s attempt at neutrality.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        If anything, you’d think more American Christians would prefer not to associate dirt-poor Jesus Christ with the sort of unbridled materialism too often exhibited in the holiday season. Kind of like how Theodore Roosevelt actually opposed having “In God We Trust” on money because he saw it as sacreligious.

  • avatar
    ajla

    QXMAS25t

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It looks like they put the tree on the roof backwards. If you put it on with the top towards the front, it’s like you have a big sail on your roof.

    Really, they should wrap the tree in twine, which both keeps the needles on the branches on the way home and keeps it from putting too much drag on your car.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      You’re the only one that noticed, but the ad agency did that to show the cruising power of the mighty 295 hp Nissan V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

      Heh… creative types.

      “We can’t have it backwards for the top shot; you’d lose the aspect of forwardness! The pointy end has to lead.”

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      From the preview pic, it almost looks like a shrubbery with no ends. I don’t have a yen to take the time to watch another derivative Yuletide luxury car commercial, so I’ll take your word for it that it’s pointed forward.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @sirwired: Glad you agree with me ^^^. :)

      It just wouldn’t look as good with the dirty root ball hanging in front of the windshield.

      If you watch carefully, the backwards branches don’t even get blown about by the wind. It’s ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “If you watch carefully, the backwards branches don’t even get blown about by the wind. It’s ridiculous.”

        And the car arrives with no snow on it, either. Boy, I’ve love that paint.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      My first thought seeing the lead picture was that the tree was backwards. Not only did they fail to wrap the branches with twine, the thing wasn’t tied onto the roof at all. I thought automakers were sensitive about modeling blatantly irresponsible behavior without illegibly small disclaimers color-matched to the background in the ad.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    We tried that re-plant thing a couple times when my kids were youngsters.
    Dug the hole ahead of time to avoid the frozen tundra. Didn’t work. I think it’s highly sensitive to weather conditions. The soil itself was suitable because I had a line of a dozen similar trees growing as a windbreak.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Here is a case where a sedan would be a better choice, since you wouldn’t have to reach so high to put the tree on your roof.

    • 0 avatar
      Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

      Same logic goes for a decent pickup bed. Plus you’d have way more snow clearance than this porcine low-rider that’s no higher off the ground than an old timey sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        There’s barely an inch of snow, any car that’s higher than an NSX will clear it.

        It amazes me how Madison Ave has convinced those who live in warmer climates that one needs military-surplus levels of gear to traverse a light dusting of snow.

        The Honda Civic is the best selling car in Quebec. Think about that when some ad tells you that you need a full off-roader to fight old man winter.

        • 0 avatar
          Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

          That Civic ain’t goin’ nowhere a plow ain’t gone first.

          I suspect the Civic’s popularity in your example is due to Quebecois being smart but poor.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            In Montreal, that would mean going nowhere for the first couple of days after a big storm. The major arteries are plowed diligently enough, but residential streets aren’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

            Maybe snow just behaves differently for those of a statut particulier.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s one of those prickly Douglas Fir types, which would scratch the hell out of your paint anyway.

      You need the soft, long needles of whatever the other kind is called.

  • avatar
    sco

    Saw the commercial and my first thought was that the kid is going to get a real world lesson when they come back next year and the tree is dead as a doornail. I dont think you just move a burlap-wrapped tree from a house to a frozen hole in the ground and have it survive but I could just be jaded.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      You never know. When I was a teenager, one of my kid brother’s friends had his mom (he was the only child, of a single mom) plant and stake their Christmas tree in the backyard flower bed after Christmas was over. He was upset at the idea of the tree being put at the curb, so his mom humored him.

      The thing is, the tree took root, and grew. There was even an article in the newspaper (The Dallas Morning News) about. Damndest thing I’d ever seen.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

    “the single most iconic secular artifact”

    The tree? An “artifact”?

  • avatar
    dwford

    So the tree was already planted somewhere, then dug up only to be replanted in an effort to ingrain environmental awareness on some rich kid’s brain?

    That’s like stealing a dog out of someone’s yard, dropping it off at the humane society, then adopting it to prove you want to rescue animals.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I think this is the missing part: The handsome family already used this tree for their ‘holiday celebration’, and now they are replanting it.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Shouldn’t it be all brown and bare, then?

        I’ve never understood the appeal of a live tree in the house (though I won’t begrudge anyone theirs). We’ve had the same artifical tree for 20+ years, a 7-foot Sears special. It’s actually a mildly fun family tradition to bring it up from the basement, fluff up all the color-coded “branches”, and decorate it with the chintzy ornaments we made in elementary school. Then we leave it up ’til MLK Day or later with no needly mess and no watering. We used to put lights on one of the blue spruces by the road, but that got to be too much of a pain, so now we just string them on the front of the machine shed and the barn.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Anually transplanting a tree is a bit rough. It wont survive it’s second Holiday.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    In the future, our speech will revert to simple grunts like the caveman, as it will be the only speech that is still PC.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The should have put up Festivous pole instead:
    http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-Festivus

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This is a callback to the orginal Infiniti commercials that didn’t show the dang car, only trees and nature. ;-)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t know if a grunt is immune from political correctness. Some could be offended by a grunt. Happy Holidays, Holidays, Greetings, and Season’s Greetings could be construed by some as offensive. We have reached the point in Society where Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night can be interpreted as politically incorrect. It is easier not to speak, not to make any sound, and not to show any emotions.

  • avatar

    No, the problem with the holidays is that they all take place too early in the winter. It gets dark, you have Thanksgiving, then Holiday.

    You need a holiday at the end of January or mid February. Then, everyone should run around, buy things, throw parties. Doing this as soon as it gets dark is just too early. After New Years, it is three long, dark, and cold months (broken up only by occasional ski days or, if lucky, a plane ride to “warm”)

    Having said that, how can you buy a car and surprise your sig. other ? Is there a discussion that you just spent $650 per month, or is there some significant percentage out there that can just gift a $60k truck for cash ?

    Well, the homes they show always are a bit extreme….

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      There is Valentine’s Day, but unless you go to elementary school, you can’t really make a big party out of that. MLK Day gives you a day off to do not much in particular.

      I always had my birthday in January, then my dad’s birthday/a certain farm show towards the end of February, to break up the monotony a bit. But maybe we should make a National Skiing Day, including waterskiing for the coastal folks.

      I seem to remember a Ram truck commercial (maybe last year?) that involved a Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 helping build a luxurious cabin complete with a giant conifer. I thought that one was alright.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder if VW’s holiday ads will be featuring Krampus?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Most people watching this ad will just see it as an ad during the holiday season, not offensive but not persuading them to buy an Infinity. I doubt ads persuade most unless they were inclined to buy and then how much is the ad going to influence what brand they buy?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m glad they showed a mixed race family, but the wife is too thin and will now enrage the Women Of The Internet with thin shaming.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree, there has to be someone that will be offended by this commercial even though it was made to be politically correct. It is hard not to offend someone even when you are consciously trying not to offend anyone. Maybe Infinity could go back to their original advertising which only showed pussy willows.

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