TBWA\C\D Blazes Rugged Trails for Pathfinder

LOS ANGELES The four-spot campaign for Nissan’s full-size Pathfinder Armada continues with two of three new ads breaking tomorrow. The 30-second TV ads, from Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, feature large family groups enjoying rugged outdoor trips on dunes, lakes and beaches.

“The product has to be credible for the segment,” said Mitch Davis, senior manager, Nissan, Gardena, Calif. “All of the vehicles in this category can take you to the rim of the Grand Canyon. This one gets you down to the riverbed.”

Rob Schwartz, executive creative director at TBWA\C\D, Playa del Rey, Calif., said the campaign’s hero is the “iconic dad,” the type admired by all in the neighborhood. “The conventions are that these vehicles are grocery-getters or hip-hop cruisers that appear on Cribs,” Schwartz said. “The spots are oriented to the people who do stuff, who really live full-size lives.”

The campaign began last month with “Passing,” in which bug-eating survivalists on a river, driving a standard Pathfinder, meet a family enjoying all the creature comforts in their full-sized model. “Family” demonstrates the vehicle’s roominess, showing the SUV filled to capacity with eight campers descending to a mountain lakeshore. In “Surf,” another full cab of adventurers goes surfing, ending with the tag, “With room for eight, who will you bring?” The final shot reveals Del-Tones surf-rock legend Dick Dale, who has tagged along for the ride with his guitar and gear. “Rally,” which breaks next February, depicts the “iconic dad” taking all the neighborhood kids to a remote location where a dune-buggy race is under way.

“Has he taken them to the circus? No. Has he taken them to a ballgame? No,” said Schwartz. “He’s taken them to the place where the stuff they play on their video games actually happens.”

The TV campaign will be buttressed by four print ads, including a three-page execution, as well as three outdoor displays. Nissan would not disclose spending, but last year spent $38 million on the Pathfinder, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Davis said Pathfinder Armada marketing is “extremely important” because the company hopes to eventually command 5 percent of a segment that also includes the Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia and GMC Yukon and is expected to see sales of 750,000 units this year. “About 35 percent of our Pathfinder customers are Nissan loyalists,” said Davis. “With the Armada, we want to woo others, specifically Toyota buyers, to our brand.”