Nissan Bears All, Embraces NFL Season With Eco-Hugging Leaf Ad

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2011 Nissan Leaf Ad Campaign (screenshot)

2011 Nissan Leaf Ad Campaign (screenshot)

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It’s the start of the football season in the U.S, and that means millions of viewers watching the games in their own home. Which translates to millions of eyeballs watching television ads during the game. In short, NFL mid-game adverts are big-buck affairs.

Automakers know that, and have saved some of their best work for football fans.

Tonight, Nissan’s advertising campaign changes gear with its latest commercial for the 2011 Nissan Leaf.  But instead of world-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong waxing lyrical on his feelings for Nissan’s all-electric car, this ad leaves the talking to a polar bear.

Yes, Nissan has finally pulled the eco-warrior card.

Nissan Leaf Ad - Bear

Nissan Leaf Ad - Bear

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In the one minute advert, a solitary polar bear leaves its rapidly melting home and starts a journey from northern wilderness to suburbia, seeking shelter and sustenance along the way.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the advert was from Greenpeace, warning the viewer that human actions and global warming are killing rare and beautiful species, as our screens are filled with melting ice-caps, forlorn cries and large trucks.

But the sad and forlorn journey of the polar bear in the advert doesn’t end in death and destruction. It ends with a car.

The final scene shows a 2011 Nissan Leaf driver leave his home and walk towards his car to start the morning commute.  With a non-violent roar, the Bear appears from behind the Leaf, giving the startled driver a bear hug.

Nissan's Bear Hug

Nissan's Bear Hug

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The tagline “Innovation for the planet, Innovation for all” rings out at the very end of the advert as the hugging bear and man fade to black.

No mention of price, no mention of specification and no mention of the competition certainly puts this advert firmly in the less-is-more camp. Combined with a heavy Facebook presence and captive audience during tonight’s first game we think the advert will certainly get attention.

But during the ad-breaks for the Vikings and Saints game tonight, will viewers really expect, or accept an advert which pulls the guilt card, especially when car adverts are traditionally a little less bleeding-heart and much more testosterone filled?

We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you want to see the advert for yourself, play the video below.

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Comments (21)
  1. personally, i dont like it. too much of the time is spent on something other than the topic.

  2. too many people have misconceptions about an ev. the time should have been spent clearing those misconceptions up, not showing some dumb polar bear, and something completely out of context.
    to me, that is like trying to sell something that has no interest by itself, so you try to combine that by showing some sexy girl, or something else completely off the point.
    how about the nissan leaf - 1)0-60 in so many seconds
    2)no oil, so forget about them oil changes 3)no spark plugs, so forget about them tune-ups 4)no tailpipe, no smog, so forget about the smog checks 5)no radiator, so forget about leaks and burnups.
    etc. etc.
    a lot could have been said in the length of time that they had, while showing various pictures of the car.

  3. Changing the cars over to different emissions won't save the polar bears. Change the big corporations, and livestock then maybe you can. The cars will have to change, but they don't contribute as much CO2 gas, and methane, than the businesses and livestock.

  4. Too bad they try to promote the Leaf on the climate story which may very well be a hoax that's probably already loosing popular support since "climategate". There are so may good reason's for wanting to kick the oil habit like imminent peak oil and oil and petrodollar related conflicts. But pictures of people blown to peaces by petrodollar funded explosive belts don't make for very attractive commercials I suppose...

  5. Whatever gets them to sell more! I think most buyers, however, are just interested on reducing their dependence on oil.

  6. How long did the polar bear have to sit outside that guy's house waiting for him to come out?

  7. Gotta wonder if this makes any sense at all. Do NFL fans care about the environment at all? Most of 'em seem to drive trucks ... but maybe I'm underrating them. They don't feel like early adopters but who knows.

  8. Not a great commercial, but not bad- brought a little smile to me. And hey- for football, bear hugs are appropriate;-)

  9. I don't really care if NFL fans really do care about the environment or not, nor do I give a shit about whether the Nissan leaf will actually save the polar bears.
    The only thing that is amazing here is the fact that they're doing something new to people who are not welcome to it.
    I say wonderful and amazing!
    Move onto the future faster.... Nissan's trying to grow some balls.
    If you don't like the commercial because you love trucks religiously... get eaten by a polar bear :)

  10. I think it was wonderful. And for the haters....There is no better way in to a mans check book than thru his wife's and or child's heart. I don't care why a person buys a EV as long as they do it.

  11. Emissions from tail pipe or from a coal spewing smokestack... Pick your poison. Live close to work and ride a bike!

  12. I like the 2nd Nissan commercial during the game. It showed all of their new vehicles as well as the LEAF. Then at the end they showed the LEAF again said never stop at a gas station again while in the background an abandoned gas station pump falls apart. I believe that is a big driver for the American public. Electricity is not only produced by coal but CNG, wind, water, solar and nuclear that is ALL domestically produced. GO EV’s!!!

  13. just another reason i like coda - click on my name for an informative down-to-earth commercial.
    in the news, coda has recently hired 2 marketing bigwigs. i hope they stay down to earth, and dont come up with something like nissan did.

  14. here is a message that i just sent coda.
    Dear Kevin Czinger, Michael A. Jackson, David Funston, Kerri Martin, Goodness Mfg and anyone else on the advertisement arena, Please keep your ads down to earth, and informative, like you did on this following site - the coda is not gonna save the polar bears. reverting to that sort of sales technique is the same ol, same ol - in your face i want to sell you something that aint that good, so i will attach a sexy girl or a polar bear to my item.

  15. I liked it but it looked more like a coca-cola add... lol

  16. "a lot could have been said in the length of time that they had, while showing various pictures of the car."
    Yea things like no motor means no heat in the winter and also no air conditioning in the summer. No tailpipe means no car exhaust pollutants but plenty more being belched out of the local coal fired power plant. The car runs off cell phone batteries which fail just like your cell phone, in other words the batteries fail only when you need them most. The 0-60 times are truly remarkable, but the 2nd run is slower, then the 3rd run, then the 4th run where the bateries are drained and the car struggles. and just think about the cost of replacing those cell phone batteries in a few years when they won't take a charge anymore; can you say $10,000?
    Yea electric cars, I can't wait.

  17. Klem... The Leaf is something I know a lot about. And it's batteries are something I know even more about. These batteries are designed to out last the car. Expect less yearly cost & about 100,000 miles before a performance loss of cycling for these batteries. Also, the batteries are recyclable and getting cheaper each day to make. Estimated cost per mile 2 to 4 cents. For an average gas burning car. 7 to 15 cents. Ask yourself this. When was the last time you drove 100 miles for $3.50. Oh, and by the way that's it's range on a 30 min charge.

  18. Good car for people with a short fixed commute. Not for people with a changing need. Real life about 60 miles before a heavy concern sets in. Nobody runs their ICE car below 1/4 tank except foolish ones. All these "quick" 30 minute charges ... when was the last time you (are I) spent 30 minutes in line at the gas station? I would find that very irritating. A Volt is a better solution for many.

  19. rich,
    dont bother talking to the oil shills. it is a waste of time. evs ARE REPLACING gas vehicles. it dont make any difference what a few oil shills want to say.
    or what gm, the biggest oil shill, does.

  20. EXCEPT .... reported that Polar Bear population has increased to all time high and Arctic ice has made a huge increase of 60 million square miles ??? and blocked the planned Greenie Northwest Passage voyage.

  21. @Richard: EXCEPT ... that comparisons are not possible because the 1960s numbers cannot be sourced.

    See the actual story here:

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