Misadventures in Advertising: The Nissan Titan's Poor Little Ponies

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
misadventures in advertising the nissan titan s poor little ponies

Earlier this week I was presented with a little advertising to enjoy, via Facebook and courtesy of Nissan. The ad is part of a new campaign launched on October 14th. In it, Nissan throws a couple of strangers together in a predicament involving the Nissan Titan XD and a previous-generation (debadged) Ford F-150.

I’m not impressed.

This is the first of a new series of ads from Nissan’s “No Lazy Horses” campaign, which you can read about here. Nissan intends to switch up the template for truck advertising, insisting that younger buyers are not interested in the brawny, serious ads of the past. “Irreverent,” the company call it. But we’ll see about that.

The ad begins with a man getting stuck the mud in his prior-generation, debadged-but-clearly-a-Ford F-150. Frustrated, the driver exits his sunken chariot, where we get a full view of the typical Ford driver for the first time.

A picture of health, eh? Opening the hood, the driver is presented with this ad campaign’s namesake, this fun gimmick which is to appeal to younger Millennial and Generation X buyers.

These are The Lazy Horses (they’re some sort of band, I suppose). The Lazy Horses reside under the hood, and their number would seem to indicate the Ford F-150 has either five horsepower, or maybe five cylinders. None of that is true. Anyway, the horses are lazy, and that’s why the driver who veered randomly off the dirt road and into a muddy area is stuck. Not to be persuaded by mere words, they insist our driver must do a song and dance entitled “Pretty Pretty Ponies.”

Everything that was on a slippery slope already goes straight downhill from here. Our Ford driver sings the song, wallowing his fat, sweaty body around in a dance, until a passing motorist in a Titan XD turns up to offer assistance. At this point, the ad has gone on for over a minute of its minute and twenty-nine second run time.

Thank God. The Titan XD driver is handsome, fit, well-dressed. He appears slightly disgusted at either the driver, or perhaps the unfortunate event which has befallen this inferior F-150. He also offers to help, being the kind and attractive Nissan driver that he is. You might suspect he’d use the big torque of the Titan’s V8 to pull the motorist out of the muck, but no.

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  • True_Blue True_Blue on Oct 20, 2017

    Lot of strange and base-level assumptions made in that commercial. Feels very much like a committee-driven marketing ad by people who've never driven, let alone owned, a pickup. A lot of the ad's (slight) punch is in the form of "owning something different and unique." Mouthbreathing blue-collar jackwagons buy Fords, Chevys, and Dodges for their unglamorous workaday fleet vehicles, and they do unglamorous work, like plumbing, grass-mowing, and driveway sealing. But what if you, as an individual of higher quality, could have all the power, bravado, and commanding presence of those plebeian tools, in a fashionable, modern, Nissan? You'd stand out from the crowd. You'd be the flash of red in a sea of black. You'd be an enlightened hero. It tries to appeal to the individual-minded light-duty truck buyer. But, if I were of that vain mindset, I'd be looking at Tundras instead.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Oct 20, 2017

      I have to disagree with you, TB, this commercial didn't even hint at "different and unique" outside of the 'lazy horses' under the hood. The only real message was at the end where they told viewers the Titan had the "best in class standard horsepower." Different and Unique currently belong to the Honda Ridgeline, with so much more capability in the bed of an otherwise ordinary-looking pickup. As was said before, this commercial was designed to grab you emotionally and not intellectually. I think it works.

  • Shawnski Shawnski on Oct 21, 2017

    The F150 here represents a generic truck, and Nissan has a new solution you should consider. Ironic that Nissan’s are overweight not the swiftest or easiest on fuel,but hey they have to try something.

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that