It’s the holiday season for several religions. Christians interested in Christmas are subject to the most scorn from advertisers, who butcher well-known seasonal songs for their own profiteering purposes… often without even the courtesy to rhyme or fit the ad copy into the well-known structure of the song. Sometimes there is tired, retro staging and dancing to accompany a bastardized song. And when it all comes together this badly, you’ve got a wickedBADvertising holiday gem.
Contagious earworms are bad enough, but when a brand re-purposes a beloved holiday song for its own purposes, a line is crossed. The theory of such an advertisement is that the viewer will attach the fond memories of the song to the brand. And, when later singing the song, will chuckle pleasantly at the thought of the alternate (branded) lyrics that just popped into mind.
But what really happens is this: new brand loathing. I’m far less likely to consider attending a sales event for a brand that is publicized with a cheap, hacked-up Christmas carol. Rather, I’ll avoid such events on principle so as to properly reward wickedBADvertisers for their failure to come up with a creative original idea. When weighing the pros and cons of a major purchase, memorable bad ads are sometimes enough to tip the scales. After all – if a company believes this sort of cheap stunt is a good idea, what other bad decisions have they made already and how many more will they make in the future? How will they respond if I have a problem after my purchase? Will they issue that recall if only 10 people’s cars have exploded?
In this specific ad, Nissan marries bad choreography with worse lyrics for a total package that begs for increased holiday cynicism. It’s not better to give or to receive – it’s best to buy cars on sale. Despite Nissan’s general target market of Gen X and Y/Millennials, the dancing and wardrobe speaks to the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers, who are well ensconced in the Buick & Cadillac demographic. Old people don’t buy Nissans in great numbers. And if they do, it’s at an early bird special, not two weeks before Christmas. Old people are done shopping in October, before everything is, “all picked over.” However, it’s possible that they’re actually targeting people who happily and deliberately watch “Glee.” That might make it worse.