FTC, Nissan Settle False Advertising Charge

Nissan Frontier Dune II

Nissan's U.S. advertising agency, TBWA Worldwide, reached an agreement last week with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a 30-second commercial it produced about the 2012 Nissan Frontier; the spot ran on several television stations across the country. The ad showed a Frontier running up a steep sand dune to rescue a dune buggy stuck near the top; the pickup truck pushed the buggy over the peak to safety after stopping on the steepest part of the dune.

According to the FTC complaint, as described in the Los Angeles Times, the commercial made it appear as if the midsize pickup was much more capable than it actually is, misrepresenting what the little 4x4 can do. The commercial is one of many auto ads (we can think of a particular Toyota Tacoma ad) that are clearly meant to look as if they've been recorded by a casual onlooker, accidentally capturing a spectacular and unbelievable event. According to the FTC, the actual filming of the commercial required several takes, multiple cuts, special cable rigging and other special effects to produce the final commercial. There's no word as to why the FTC chose the Nissan advertisement from the others.

Under the settlement Nissan and TBWA won't face any immediate punishment, but could face civil penalties of up to $16,000 a day if either produces similarly deceptive advertisements in the next 20 years. Also, both companies need to maintain records for any kind of advertising for all Nissan trucks for the next five years, which will be monitored by the FTC. Nissan does not plan to end its relationship with TBWA.

The article goes onto say the last time the FTC and an automaker came to an agreement like this was in 1992 when Volvo produced a commercial that implied that a monster truck could not crush one of its station wagons.

2011 Nissan Ad



2009 Toyota Ad




"The article goes onto say the last time the FTC and an automaker came to an agreement like this was in 1992 when Volvo produced a commercial that implied that a monster truck could not crush one of its station wagons."

But they ignored the Tacoma commercials implying the same exact thing?

Pretty ridiculous for the FTC do do something like this, I think most people know that the truck wont do this or nor can a 747 land its front landing gear in the bed, you'd have to be a moron to think so.

Ford had a commercial with its car flying. Nissan has another commercial with its SUV jumping on to a train.

The people at the FTC are idiots. It's a federal agency, enough said. I can think of hundreds of as they put it, misleading things in commercials. It's not limited to cars and trucks either.

Just more Big Government with no common sense! LOL

I'm guessing it wasn't so much the fact that Nissan made an add showing the truck doing something it cannot do so much as they forgot to put a fine print disclossure stating the obvious that it cannot in fact do the impossible.

@matt: That sounds right. The Nissan Rogue commercial that had this "cool, fun" crossover jumping onto a train had a disclaimer ("Cars can't jump on trains. Duh.") and the infamous Ford Fusion "Car cannot fly" commercial had obvious (if fine-printed) disclaimers. The fact that this one might not have (I can't remember, that was 3 years ago) is what the FTC is going after.

It's great to see our government wasting money on this kind of crap, no wonder we are so far into debt.

Stupid Nissan, they should have used an ACTUAL 4X4 MODEL!...

Guess this means that the fiat 500 isn't really a submersible ;}>

In Australia, Ford ran a TV commercial for the F250 that showed it pulling a semi that was completely buried in mud. When the truck came out from full immersion, the semi driver asked the F250 owner if he could borrow a chamois. This was obviously false advertising. There is no way on earth you can clean mud off a semi with a chamois.

@Alex: So true, so true. You need to actually wash it first. A chamois is for drying without making streaks.

I use a Chamois for entertaining myself, works well.

When I read this article, I couldn't help thinking of the an old 80's Ford commercial:

Certainly the absurdity of the Nissan commercial isn't unprecedented. I think it's hilarious when you go look at old commercials and see how outlandish they are. If anything, commercials are getting more realistic.

I have never seen that Commercial..news to me.

@Robert Ryan, it was back in 2003. Produced by Ernie Clark, featured Adam Morgan. It's all the info I can find on it. Nobody has put it on YouTube.

These links confirm its existence at least

"FORD AUSTRALIA F250 TVC ‘Chamois’ (Ernie Clark Films) Production Assistant."


Someone with influence employed at the FTC bought a Nissan that didn't give them the service they expected.

Why else would this occur?

Its hard to tell from the video but an old Tacoma was pushed from the top of the cliff and when it hit the bottom it was a new truck that her boyfriend replaced with insurance... I know its hard to tell the difference between the two because Toyota hasn't changed the Tacoma in over a decade...

To be fair. The toyota tacoma commercials are not making the truck look more capable than it really is. They really can get hit by a meteor moving at over 33,000 mph and come out without a scratch. I haven't seen any proof that shows I'm wrong ;)

Another Australian ad was for the old Hilux. Here is the "bugger" TVC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u91WGac2mbI

Anyone who thinks these ads are realistic or should be realistic are stupid. TV programs, TV commercials, even the news on TV is just another art form that relies on creativity to tell a story.

So I should sue a manufacturer for saying "Quality is # 1"


The government has nothing to lose but only to gain $$$$$$
It's a joke!
Wake Up people
Check and balances are gone
Common sense is gone

Good to hear the FTC is looking out for the little guy and making some money in the process. Less taxes the govt needs from me then! I hope they fine more of these lying, thieving pigs.

Not fair!! There are dramatized truck AND car ads on national television right now!

Plus, if this is the case...every time GM runs an ad showing a Chevrolet truck starting and backing out of the driveway in the morning they should be fined for deception.

Might have been made for a US Audience.

The Hilux Commercials were made in New Zealand, quite funny.

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