If competing truck makers can show each other a little love, then maybe there’s still hope for the rest of us.
Americans love their trucks. The top-selling vehicle in the US for the past 34 years is the Ford F-series with over 753,000 new pickups sold in 2014. As gas prices have gone down, sales of light trucks, which includes SUVs and minivans, have outsold cars by over 600,000 units annually. Not only are Americans big on trucks, they’re fiercely loyal to the brands they purchase, only rarely switching brands when purchasing a new vehicle.
Within the industry, domestic manufacturers Ford, GM (Chevrolet, specifically), and Chrysler’s Dodge division have dominated the market. Competition from foreign manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan together barely sell half the volume as third-ranked Dodge.
Traditional advertising within the pickup sector is severe with each brand taking great pride in performing feats of strength and power over the other. Sure, they’ll mention the competition in an ad—it’s the most direct way to put the other guys down. There certainly has been no love lost between any of them.
Nissan USA ran a commercial during the college football championship game that goes in exactly the opposite direction. Instead of putting down the Big Three automakers, the Nissan commercial praises them, thanking them for the innovations and perseverance that has led pickups to their dominant position. Speaking through the voice of a child, the ad doesn’t even show their own vehicle until the end. Take a look:
Jeremy Tucker, vice president of marketing communications and media at Nissan North America, tells Adweek,”This was about grabbing people’s attention to claim our seat at the table. It’s a fact that our competitors are the category and responsible for driving industry and truck culture. With this fact, we aimed to give respect to get respect to start the conversation.”
The question no one can answer just yet is whether that little bit of love will be enough to actually sell Nissan’s new full-size pickup, ferociously named Titan. Nissan claims over four million online views of the ad so far with response on YouTube being 96% positive. Nissan is feeling some love coming back its direction, but will that be enough? The end of the commercial even pulls the strings of patriotism, referring to the truck as the American Titan and touting its US roots: designed in California, Engineered in Michigan, testing in Arizona, manufactured in Mississippi, powered by Cummins in Indiana. Only when one pauses the video are you likely to see the small print explaining that the truck is built from “globally sourced” parts.
Should this marketing-driven profession of love work, though, perhaps we can start applying the same concept to other areas where we’ve not done such a great job at loving each other. If Nissan showing some love for Ford works, then maybe showing some love for people of other races and ethnicities might work as well. If one car company at the bottom of the pack can set aside its differences with everyone else in the industry, then maybe people in one community can start caring for more of those around them. If truck makes can get along without hitting, smashing, and trying to kill each other, then perhaps the people who drive those trucks can find a similar type of civility toward their fellow human.
I realize there are a lot of really huge problems on this planet and platitudes don’t fix any of them. However, the ad shows children learning respect, and just as we teach our little ones to respect their elders, perhaps it might be a good idea if we respect each other as well, even if you don’t drive a truck.
All it takes is a little love.