‘Toys’ Story

Nissan, TBWA/Chiat/Day Shelve Sequel Ad
LOS ANGELES–TBWA/Chiat/Day has developed a sequel to its celebrated “Toys” spot for Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. The client, however, is declining to run the spot–at least for now–as it shifts the focus of its $350 million ad budget from brand image to hard-sell ads.
Executives at the Gardena, Calif.-based Nissan confirmed that the Playa del Rey, Calif.-based agency proposed a sequel to the hit 1996 TV spot, which featured the same characters as the original “Toys”: macho adventure doll “Nissan Nick,” sexy “Roxanne” and yuppie scum “Tad.” (In the original, Nick steals Roxanne from Tad before the couple race off in a 300ZX to the tune of Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me.”) But Nissan has “no plans to air” it.
“Certainly, we considered [a sequel] after the popularity of the original ‘Toys,'” said Nissan representative Kurt von Zumwalt. “But that was then. This is now.” Executives at TBWA/C/D declined to comment.
Nissan is also dropping the Mr. K character from TV ads “for the foreseeable future,” said John Rinek, director of marketing communications. The “Enjoy the ride” theme, however, is being retained, and the character will continue to appear in print work.
The decision to spike a “Toys” sequel marks the latest speed bump in the “Enjoy” campaign. Mike Seergy, the new general manager of Nissan division, wants to focus on dependability, quality and reliability to boost sales, which dropped 18 percent in September. Two of the main architects of the campaign, former Nissan president Bob Thomas and former TBWA/C/D worldwide account director Tom Patty, have left their companies in recent months.