Nissan wants viewers to believe that a Sentra will give them years of reliable service. Rather than make that claim, Nissan tells a story about a junkyard wake for an old and well-loved version of the car.
Taking place just before the crusher destroys the old car and featuring a pianist, the service is certainly unexpected and, of course, not meant to be taken seriously. Viewers realize the wake is an amusing, creative device and don’t wonder why the dealer wouldn’t take such a reliable car as a trade-in.
To its credit, the ad focuses on the feeling of a reliable car rather than the attribute of reliability. But, to be accurate, the ad focuses on how it feels to give up a reliable car rather than on how it feels to have a reliable car. Done with the same creative flair, the feeling of having a reliable car might have been even more persuasive.
Nissan associates the Sentra with young, cool people who appreciate the car’s reliability. A brand can’t effectively claim that its users are young and cool, but a brand can effectively show its users are young and cool. However, in the end, Nissan might ask if the protagonist is someone prospective car buyers commiserate with or want to hang out with. Is he someone buyers feel sorry for or want to join?