Nissan Lassoes Younger Buyers With Titan Ad

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By Courtney Messenbaugh

The Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are the No. 1 and No. 2 best-selling pickup trucks in America, respectively. These two are the heavyweights of the pickup market, both metaphorically and literally. And there's no place better to see their importance on display than in these trucks' advertisements.

A Silverado ad highlights "truck guys" of a certain age dressed in jeans, work boots, baseball caps and T-shirts using words like beefy, monster and mean to convey their positive impressions of an undisguised truck. A Ford ad uses images of minor explosions and massive hauling efforts over dusty and barren roads to convey its pickup's power.

The meek may inherit the Earth, but pickup ads make clear that the powerful and masculine will roam and conquer it.

Nissan aims to tell a slightly different story with its new Titan ad campaign. The Titan hit the full-size half-ton market for model year 2004, which makes it a wee infant compared to the F-150's nearly 70 years of production and the Silverado 1500's 20-plus years.

Nonetheless, the Titan is gaining market traction, particularly among the more youthful demographic. That's right: While the F-150 and Silverado 1500 outpace the Titan in overall sales, the recently redesigned Titan roars past them when it comes to millennials and Generation X buyers. Sales data reveals that the Titan has a larger percentage of millennial buyers than the two best-selling trucks and way more Gen X buyers than anyone else. In fact, around 34 percent of Titan sales are to Gen Xers, which is 10 points above the class average.

That information inspired Nissan to take a new approach to pickup truck advertising. The new Nissan Titan ad campaign, #NoLazyHorses, eschews the traditional rough-and-tumble messaging in favor of something quirky and fun. Clark's loaded pickup (looking much like a non-badged F-150) gets stuck because the sideburned and bespectacled horses in its engine are too busy lounging and need entertainment for motivation (sound familiar?).

Clark is appealing in his complete normalcy and humility as he lightly gallops and sings a silly song to motivate his horses to giddyup. This ad improbably works "pretty ponies" and "pretty pleases" into the pickup truck vernacular and it works. This could be one of the best examples of knowing your audience and speaking directly to them.

"The value of Titan is the main driver for its appeal to younger buyers," said Tiago Castro, Nissan director of trucks and commercial vehicles. "Our five-year, 100,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty is the No. 1 reason for purchase. The V-8 power and features included in the various packages add up to a tremendous value for customers."

#NoLazyHorses, indeed. It takes some savvy to invest in what's both powerful and practical, the combination of which can only mean more fun for all.

So yes, maybe the meek will inherit the Earth and the monstrous and masculine will roam it, but the millennials and Gen Xers will have as much fun as they can while they're on it, even when they're carrying a load of aluminum tubes that seems to require a heavy-duty set of cargo straps to hold them down.

We were told five days after the #NoLazyHorses campaign ad launched, it had been viewed more than 5.3 million people — going viral — exactly the sort of thing its youthful audience likes. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Comments

That's funny!!

5.3 million saw it? How many grabbed their checkbooks
and ran down to their nearest Nissan dealership? Not
many I'm guessing.

It's the right ad for the right generation-no argument there.
This ad is NOT aimed at the XD crowd. Millennials don't drive
diesels. Imagine if Nissan sold a electric version of this truck!
And now, the snowflakes have their very own machomobile.
Think of all the signs they can carry from one protest to another.

Nice marketing spin, since Nissan only offers the 5.6 it does in fact have best in class horsepower for a standard V8. Well done Nissan...

Nice marketing spin, since Nissan only offers the 5.6 it does in fact have best in class horsepower for a standard V8. Well done Nissan...

If they are marketing to the young buyers, why do they show the younger guy with the weaker truck, and the older dude with the Nissan? Seems reversed of what it should have been.

Nice job Nissan, way to target the market.

An entire article about the Nissan Titan yet the first sentence was put there to remind you that Ford is somehow better than everyone else. Another propaganda piece from the Ford Fellatio Fanclub. I'm going to point that out every time because it's true.


As far as the Titan goes, Nissan is going to have to change the whole "we do things differently" attitude because it comes off as "we don't give a F what you think" instead. The first generation Titan started off fine overall but never corrected issues and became to the truck world like how Hitachi is to power tools: an off-brand stuck in the past that nobody buys. That may appeal to a few millennials who want something different than mainstream but it won't sell units overall. That may work for Toyota who has a much better reputation for reliability (deserved or not you have to agree the reputation is believed) unlike Nissan who is seen as the weird cousin of Toyota that nobody likes.

The first generation Titan started off fine overall

@BD

That's called "damning with faint praise."

In fact the first gen Titan was a world apart from the crap being put out by the Big 3 at that time.

All alloy block and heads, powerful DOHC motor. Five speed auto trans. Both standard.

At that time RAM, Ford and GM all had funky standard V6 engines from the 1980s. They all probably had rear drum brakes too back then. Nissan had 4 wheel discs standard.

Give credit where credit's due. Unfortunately Nissan allowed the Titan to remain fundamentally unchanged for 10 years.

Such a dumb commercial period! Ugh

@papa
So we’re clear the 1st gen titan competed with the 11th gen F150 which had 4 disc brakes and the Essex v6 4.2 released in 1997 - replaced the 300 straight six :( The 4.2 in the GM trucks does trace its heritage to the 80s but was updated many times.

Why? All the truck commercialso have to do with a FORD F-150 truck. Shake always have to show an ford f-150 and now this junk too what a shame. Oh wait I know why because Ford F-150 is the best selling truck yep that's why.

So we’re clear the 1st gen titan competed with the 11th gen F150 which had 4 disc brakes and the Essex v6 4.2 released in 1997 - replaced the 300 straight six :( The 4.2 in the GM trucks does trace its heritage to the 80s but was updated many times. Posted by: Grnzel1 | Oct 24, 2017

@Grnzel1

GM never made a 4.2 that I'm aware of.

The dismal 4.2 Essex Ford you refer to is the sister of the 3.8 Essex Ford from the 1980s.

Updated you say? It was a stinker that took years of Ford using its customers for Guinea Pigs to sort out. Let's be serious here. I owned four Essex motors in various cars over the years and only ONE of the four was worth a sh*t. Major issues with cooling systems and EGR valves. Changing the EGR in a rear-drive Ford car or truck with an Essex motor was a nightmare because it was crammed up against the firewall.

I'll give you the disc brakes thing, you're probably right on that one. The F150 that came out in 97 was pure crap. Big coolling system troubles, cracked intake manifolds. Legendary.

@papa, Ford was still number 1 back then, and you still never drove one.

I wasn't trying to put down the first gen, I typed that quickly and didn't mean to gloss over it. Yes, it had a very modern and powerful V8, more gears and a lot of features not standard at the time, but did have a sucky rear end and some other issues. Overall it was great, but Nissan refused to compete and address issues and develop the Titan into a better truck and within a few years it became an outdated joke, whether or not it could still compete against current trucks in the automotive world perception is reality, just like politics.

Typo on the GM displacement. I wasnt debating the quality of the Ford engines just that you said the v6s’ were 80s left overs- it were not. I’d only consider defending the Ford 4.6 from that era. It was a dog but the most reliable of the mod motors - compared to the rest of the Ford offerings. First Gen Titans were not without issue either. See rear end failures.

@Richardny66

You are a real winner, instead of talking about how this approach will or will not work you attack a whole generation.

You come off as a guy who starts every story with back and my day and complains about young people and smart phones while viewing this website on your iPhone.

Nissan and Toyota will never compete against the D3 doing what they do. This is a prime example of them trying to find a new way.

@Richardny66

You are a real winner, instead of talking about how this approach will or will not work you attack a whole generation.

You come off as a guy who starts every story with back in my day and complains about young people and smart phones while viewing this website on your iPhone.

Nissan and Toyota will never compete against the D3 doing what they do. This is a prime example of them trying to find a new way.

and you still never drove one. Posted by: Nitro | Oct 24, 2017

@Nitro

Huh? F150?

I owned one. I learned the hard way. You are a bleeping moron.

Rowdy, as others have mentioned, this ad misses the mark.
It's lame, it makes today's generation look inept, NO ONE, and
I mean NO ONE would EVER act like that, even in a joking
manner. If I were in my mid 20's, I'd be a bit po'd that thats
what marketing companies think of my generation.
Chew on that.
The ad is an embarrassing failure and I don't much care what
you think about it or me. And I go to this site on my wife's
laptop-not some iphone that you people can't seem to pry from
your soft, uncallused hands.....
At 69, your right, I do think about things back in the day.
You kids have a lot of growing up to do. And pickuptrucks.com
ain't the place.

Stupid, insulting ad. Gen X is not falling for this.

First it uses a 4 year old F150 for comparison. Also insulting Ford owners never works in commercials.

Then it says Nissan has the best V8 how or "standard" hp whatever that means. In the fine print it says it is only talking 2017 vs 2017 trucks.

I'm not a big V8 fan but the 2018 5L V8 F150 has 395 hp to Nissan's 390 hp. Last time I checked 399 is less than 395. The F150 also has a 10 speed.

Nissan was a little late with this ad and is now just insulting young people. Not falling for it.

Stupid, insulting ad. Gen X is not falling for this.

First it uses a 4 year old F150 for comparison. Also insulting Ford owners never works in commercials.

Then it says Nissan has the best V8 hp or "standard" hp whatever that means. In the fine print it says it is only talking 2017 vs 2017 trucks.

I'm not a big V8 fan but the 2018 5L V8 F150 has 395 hp to Nissan's 390 hp. Last time I checked 390 is less than 395. The F150 also has a 10 speed.

Nissan was a little late with this ad and is now just insulting young people. Not falling for it.

Edited: typos.

Hold on, Courtney.

Why does he talk to the engine when he is stuck in mud because he is in a 2wd truck and needs more traction?

Why sing to the engine like a girly man?

Why is the top of the line best Titan 4x4 used and the Ford a 2013 base XLT 2wd?

Why compare 2017 when 2018 trucks are being sold?

Maybe Gen X females will like it and get their lazy husband's to buy Titans now.

But this Gen Xer is not impressed.

This ad worked on me and my son.

I'm off to the Nissan dealership. The 2019 Silverado is still a year away and I cannot wait any longer for GM to compete.

Thank you, Nissan.

Last time I checked 399 is less than 395. Posted by: Akex | Oct 24, 2017

@akex

I'm not good at math either. Use a calculator.

May be a good try on funny...but maybe too smart by half. Not comparo trucks in any way, as has been said. So are they assuming a real dumb crowd to be falling for it, or just calling all truck buyers/owners stupid? Here's some advice Nissan - redesign that horrible front end first, then prove you can outperform and outlast the CURRENT Ford pickups, model for model. Do it for years and then come back with an ad questioning why anyone would buy a Ford. Got it?

@papa, based on your previous comments and lack of knowledge on trucks, I would say you can throw out the comment about owning one. Also you held the mirror in front of you too didnt you?

Looks like Nissan has bigger plans for their truck program:

http://www.autonews.com/article/20171024/GLOBAL/171029878/nissans-big-vision%3A-titan-rolling-into-global-markets

@Nitro

Dad and I just got back from the Nissan dealership. We we're all set on the 5.6 V8 with less hours than Ford's 5.0 V8. The V8 rumble got my dad's juices flowing. But they wouldn't give enough trade for our 2013 Silverado WT with a 5.3L and 2wd. Then our financing fell through. My dad looked at a new Suburban but he says we cannot afford one. Looks like we will have to get a 2nd mortgage and wait for the 2019 Silverado with extensive use of military grade aluminum. I hope the new 2019 RAM doesn't outclass us again. Thanks for your support.

5.6 V8 with less hp. Thanks.

Sad part is, that's how most Ford clowns act! Nissan nailed it 100%.

HAHAHA
LAME azz ad,,

Here learn from the best..Chevys

https://youtu.be/Y1-gHqov5w8

Lol, that's hilarious. I can't stop laughing.

Sad part is, that's how most Ford clowns act! Nissan nailed it 100%.

Posted by: johnny doe | Oct 24, 2017 3:56:23 PM

So the take away from the ad is that Ford buyers act like clowns. This will surely help Nissan sales. Not.

Looks like Nissan has bigger plans for their truck program:

http://www.autonews.com/article/20171024/GLOBAL/171029878/nissans-big-vision%3A-titan-rolling-into-global-markets


Posted by: NoQDRTundra | Oct 24, 2017 2:32:10 PM

Looks like they aren't selling here so they have to look elsewhere. Smart move. They wanted to move 10k+ trucks a month to make the investment viable. They are still only selling around 3k+ a month. Nobody talks about this.

Ford truck buyers are lazy slobs, the F150 is junk and gets stuck in mud. Nissan nailed it!!!!!

They are still only selling around 3k+ a month. Posted by: Mike | Oct 24, 2017

@Mike

Is there anybody more brand-loyal that pickup owners? Nissan took on a big challenge here in the US. Global markets may not be as obsessed over brand considerations.

Which agency created the ad? Nissan United?
Christian Meunier will not last very long if this is the direction he is taking Nissan marketing. Credibility will not be achieved with this garbage.

Mike, I long since expected Nissan to start peddling the
XD around once they stripped out all that garbage EPA hard-
ware. Most of the world does not bow down to the EPA. And
when you're out in the middle of nowhere and your check engine light come on throwing all sorts of pollution control error codes, watch how fast that junk gets yanked.

I've never a problem with how the XD looks but the one irritation I have is the gas cap protruding into the fender well just enough to scream " lazy". Redesign it. It looks bad.
Nissans are sold world wide with much success and the
Cummins should do equally as well.

The ad was ridiculous. First they used a 2wd f-150 that is from the previous generation if not 2 generations past. 2nd they drive into a mud hole with it while obviously slamming on the brakes in order to get it stuck. 3rd they have lightweight hollow tubes in the back which doesn't really make for much of a load. 4th instead of pulling out the truck or driving through any mud itself the nissan drives around on hard dry ground and takes the load off the other truck, leaving it stuck there in the mud. Why not show it pulling out the other truck or driving through the mud itself? 5th the guy does a "horsepower" dance as if that is somehow supposed to help a guy get out when stuck in the mud?

Manufacturers need to realize that making fun of drivers of other brands only makes them dislike your brand even more. GM needs to learn that with their ads. And apparently nissan does too. Notice Ford rarely refers to other brands specifically and doesn't bash their owners. That doesn't win people over. What wins people over is showing off why your truck is great and making people feel good when they watch your ad.

Watched the ad. Disappointed. It's a work truck. Work is serious, not dancing. Show me how the titan is going to get me paid and back home safe to my family after a long day hauling crews and trailers loaded with equipment.

I bought a Titan XD last month, i like it. Great unloaded ride, pulls fine. Mileage sucks but that's expected. Unlike other manufacturers no unions, no outsourced IT, made in America. Checked all the boxes i had. No regrets



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