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Nissan Ad Deemed Misleading

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On: Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 9:12AM | By: Karen Cook


Nissan Ad Deemed Misleading

If you happen to be in the desert racing around in your dune buggy and it gets stuck, there’s a solution. If you drove out there in your Nissan Frontier, you can use it to push the dune buggy up the hill. Or can you?

Nissan’s ad agency, TBWA Worldwide, shot a YouTube-style ad using what appeared to be a camera phone which made the footage appear more authentic than it actually was. The 30-second ad, called “Hill Climb,” which aired in 2011, shows a Frontier “pushing” a dune buggy up the hill, but it doesn’t show the cables which actually pulled them both to the top.

The Federal Trade Commission took issue with the advertisement. According to their spokeswoman, Jessica Rich, "Special effects in ads can be entertaining, but advertisers can't use them to misrepresent what a product can do.” There was a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad saying it was a “fictionalization,” but the FTC didn’t believe that was good enough.

Nissan North America and TBWA Worldwide have reached a settlement with the FTC which forbids them from making any claims in advertising which the vehicle cannot live up to. Both companies have also issued statements saying they are committed to fair and truthful advertising and compliance with the law. They also state that they never intended to mislead potential customers. The settlement does not contain any fines for either company.

Interestingly, Nissan has another commercial for its Rogue which shows a group of carpoolers(?) who are running late. So, the driver takes a “short cut” which involves jumping the car from the roadway to the top of a moving train and then jumping off again and sliding into a parking space. There is a disclaimer on the bottom of this commercial, too, stating that the driver is on a closed course and that “Cars can’t jump on trains.” I’m guessing this was obvious enough to satisfy the FTC, though Nissan did tweet apologies for insulting our intelligence with the Rogue ad.




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