TBWA\Chiat\Day Stands on ‘Shoulders of Giants’ for Nissan

By Erik Oster 

You don’t see too many ads where brands namecheck their rivals, but that’s exactly what TBWA\Chiat\Day does in its latest spot for Nissan, “Shoulders of Giants.”

The ad promotes the Nissan Titan XD by first taking a look back. “We have all had a giant,” begins a voiceover from a young boy playing over dramatic piano chords and footage of childhood heroes such as firefighters, parents, athletes and astronauts, “someone who stood tall, who showed us how to be what we could become and how to get there…whose footsteps we followed to come this far and whose shoulders we stand upon to see how much farther we can go.” Near the conclusion of the 90-second spot, the voiceover extends the comparison to the trucks that came before, saying, “To those who came before us — Chevy, Ford, Dodge — thank you, we see the way forward.” The line is delivered as the Nissan Titan XD emerges from a garage and sets out down a wide open road. It’s a clever approach that some may see as a bit manipulative, paying homage and even thanking competitors with what appears at first to be a backhanded compliment implying those other trucks are remnants of the past, however important they were as a stepping stone. The spot made its broadcast debut yesterday during the college football National Championship game between Clemson and Alabama. 

Fred Diaz, vice president of Nissan North America, told AdAge, however, claims that isn’t the case. “We know and understand in the truck world that you have to show respect to earn respect of a typical truck buyer,” he said. “And we wanted to to do that in a very true and authentic way without it at all coming across that we are giving a backhanded compliment to our competitors.”

The competing brands’ trucks pictured in the ad, well worn and dusty, include the 1972 Chevy C10, a 1985 Dodge model and a 1995 Ford F-150. Nissan North America vice president,  marketing communications and media Jeremy Tucker says the trucks were chosen because they  “are actually icons in truck culture, so each one of them represents an evolution for trucks,” adding, “Each of these trucks are worthy of genuine recognition. And from a Nissan perspective, we look forward to being included among them in the future.”