Ryan Reynolds Gets Funny With The 2012 Nissan Leaf: Video

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Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Hall in an ad for the 2012 Nissan Leaf

Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Hall in an ad for the 2012 Nissan Leaf

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Isaiah Mustafa has ruined advertising. He may not have written his own monologues for those popular Old Spice ads, but Mustafa's deadpan delivery and sublime quirkiness have inspired a thousand would-be imitators. Even talented actors like Ryan Reynolds can't measure up, as we see in a new clip for the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

In the commercial, Reynolds is paired with another Ryan -- marathoner Ryan Hall -- who's allegedly giving Reynolds some tips on running a marathon. The gag is that while Hall jogs around, working up a sweat, Reynolds sits comfortably behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf. In comedy terms, Hall plays the straight man, the Moe to Reynolds' Curly.

Unfortunately, the ad doesn't work for us. And because we were champion debaters in high school -- cross-x and Lincoln-Douglas, thank you -- here are three reasons why:

1. It's not funny: Reynolds cut his teeth on comedy, and he can be a funny guy, but he's better off letting someone else play the nut job. In Reynolds' defense, the script for the Nissan ad isn't stellar, but we do have to wonder what would've happened if, say, Alec Baldwin had been cast in his place.

2. It doesn't tell us anything new: We don't know where this ad is meant to run, and even though it's nearly 60 seconds on the nose, it could simply be a branding piece for web audiences. But whether it remains tethered to YouTube or drifts onto television, we're perplexed as to why Nissan didn't take a different angle and tell us something new about the Leaf. After all, the idea of an athlete happily chugging along behind a zero-emission Leaf was done a year-and-a-half ago with Lance Armstrong.  

3. The Leaf gets lost: This is our biggest beef with the clip. We're fans of the Leaf, and from where we sit, Nissan should take every opportunity to engage other potential customers. In this ad, we have a hard time finding the car, much less finding anything to get excited about.

But maybe we're being too harsh on the former Mr. Johansson. Maybe Nissan intended this to be a short, simple commercial about health and fitness as part of its Innovation for Endurance Facebook promo. Still, we wouldn't complain if Nissan brought back the polar bear. Have a look and judge for yourself:

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Comments (8)
  1. "It doesn't tell us anything new"

    Maybe because there isn't anything more to be said about the Leaf, or any of the EV's making it to the market. Sadly, they are totally conventional cars, with electric drivetrains. Which means their are too big, and inefficient to make good use of electric power. So we end up with huge, long charging, expensive battery packs, and poor range. I know...if people wanted innovative vehicles we'd already have them, with ICE powertrains! Unfortunately, that is the real story.

  2. Technically, I was using marketing lingo when I asked to hear something new -- meaning that I wanted Nissan to give us a new spin on the Leaf, to get consumers excited about it in a new way and for new reasons.

    But maybe you're right: maybe there isn't anything left to say about the Leaf -- at least in its current iteration. Which would explain why the ad isn't very compelling.

  3. I'm sorry isn't marketing's job to make things interesting even when nothing is new. Take, for example, the marketing guys at Coke. The product hasn't changed, yet they can make some interesting ads. If you are not into Coke, perhaps AA batteries are more your thing. Energizer has interesting ads, same old product.

    I would say the LEAF is a new and interesting product presented in a dull ad.

  4. Yes, that's exactly the point I was initially trying to make. You've said it much better, though.

  5. It seems they are really not that interested in selling these cars. They don't mention cost per mile to drive,things you will never need done,how long electric motors last so people have a comparison to regular cars. They could also suggest an electric for daily driving, and keep your smoker for those cross country trips people make on week ends.

  6. No, they don't really want to sell the cars. If they did, where are the lovingly-crafted shots of the car, the interior, etc. At least this one's just mildly incompetant. Have you seen the Volt's? They remind people over and over again that "batteries always fail and leave you in the lurch at the worst times?" Only slightly less obvious than the EV-1's scary, post-apocalyptic ads.

  7. I always thought the EV-1's "Rise of the Machines" ad was scarier.

  8. I find the commercial good as it doesn't throw the EV'ness of the car in your face. Just wish Green Lantern was a better movie ;)

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