SCARIEST Marketing We’ve Ever Seen – Nissan “Feel Like Royalty” Ad

October 26, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

the scariest marketingAs a design / marketing person – and as a person with an undiagnosed slight case of O.C.D. – there are often marketing campaigns that physically cause me pain. By the way- our Rainbow Graphic for this is a perfect example – it uses the fonts I hate the worst – and it illustrates that design CAN be bad, and that it matters. Throughout the month of October, as we get closer to the spookiness of Halloween – we’re look at some of the SCARIEST marketing pieces that I’ve ever seen!

Nissan “Feel Like Royalty”



First of all – this commercial is produced well – and it looks great.

But I almost feel like it’s playing a race card.

Don’t misunderstand me  because I think it’s AWESOME that they have a beautiful, strong, successful black woman featured as the driver of this car in the commercial.

What gets me is the commercial leads up to a climax – this moment of anticipation to see  WHO IS DRIVING THIS CAR?! and the mention royalty – and you see a foot, and there’s suspense – and the music drops out – and then the reveal – and I expect to see a celebrity, or royalty, or SOMETHING that makes me feel that payoff as I’ve waited to see who is in this car.

For some reason – I feel like the advertisers WANT the shock of her race to be the point of the reveal.
I don’t want to think they were intentionally doing that…. but the way the commercial plays  – with it’s build up and release definitely communicates this… “Wait for it – we’re going to surprise you – and the surprise is….. wait for it… wait for it…. she’s black.”

I’m glad she’s black – don’t get me wrong – but with that buildup – maybe they should have used a black celebrity – so that that “payoff” would have some weight. I may be completely wrong in this – maybe that feeling is completely unwarranted. Maybe the advertisers just didn’t realize that the commercial would create such a buildup before the reveal – and maybe they just thought that the reveal of a beautiful woman was enough.

The commercial just leaves me unsettled. I think that it communicates an unintended (or maybe intended) message that “You don’t expect black people to drive nice cars like this.” And I think that’s not the right message to send.
By the way – this commercial features a black family driving a car, and it doesn’t do it with a “gotcha” feel at all. I love this one. This one is GREAT marketing.


Tell me – am I way off? Am i just being overly sensitive? Am I missing something? Send me a comment to weigh in your thoughts.