2016 Nissan Titan XD Ad Pays Homage to Pickup Giants

Nissan Titan XD Ad

As the first part of a long-term rollout strategy for the all-new 2016 Titan XD, Nissan is releasing a new 90-second commercial introducing the new pickup to the world during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 11. The commercial pays homage to those pickup trucks that have come before, specifically Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge.

From the first moments, the television spot pulls at your emotions with soft music, slow-motion images and a youthful voiceover as it develops the idea of how we all follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us. In many instances our predecessors have provided a safe path for us to follow. Maybe it was a parent, a firefighter or a coach who pushed us beyond our limits to explore our own, best capabilities. The spot does it pretty well and is in some ways similar to the now-famous Ram commercial from the Super Bowl a few years ago narrated by stalwart radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.

This new Nissan spot even goes so far as to thank its competition.

"We didn't want to use the same old playbook," said Jeremy Tucker, Nissan vice president of marketing communications and media. "We wanted to do something different … to challenge ourselves to be authentic for this evolving and knowledgeable pickup customer."

Fred Diaz, Nissan division vice president and general manager of truck and light commercial vehicles, also said that with this commercial, Nissan wanted to present the idea that it understands that you must give respect if you ever want to receive it, especially in the truck world.

Nissan Titan XD ad 2

"That's where the idea for the spot came from," Diaz said. "And we felt we were in the position of doing something none of the other truckmakers would do."

Making that emotional connection between a pickup, where you came from and what you can achieve is what Nissan hopes viewers will feel when watching "Shoulders of Giants." Only time will tell if highlighting the biggest players in the segment and thanking them for how they changed the industry will be a successful strategy. But compared to other self-absorbed and aggressive TV spots, this is clearly a different course that could generate attention.

What's most interesting is that the commercial pays homage to several iconic pickup trucks sold in the U.S.: the 1970 C10 Chevrolet (first marketed as capable daily driver), the 1985 Dodge W250 (the first with a Cummins engine) and the 1995 Ford F-150 (the first with an Eddie Bauer trim package). No doubt some non-truck viewers will cry foul for Nissan showing these classic pickups with the brand-new Titan XD, but that's where we should step in and correct their misunderstanding of what those pickups have meant to the auto industry.

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