I know I’ve written about my Nissan Pao plenty over the years here, which is why I’m somewhat astounded to find that I’ve never officially shown you one of the most incredible bits of the whole Pao mythos: the incredible and deeply strange video Nissan made to introduce the Pao back in 1989. Even if you thought you already knew the Pao was a strange, quirky little thing, this video will show you that, really, you don’t know the half of it. It’s industrial-grade quirk right here, and if you’re pregnant, you should probably watch this through a pinhole in some cardboard unless you want your baby born knowing how to play a ukulele and wearing rainbow suspenders, or something.
Even if you know a bit about the Pao’s design philosophy, with the ‘80s Banana Republic safari weirdness influences, and the grab-bag of iconic ‘60s cars, from the Mini to the 2CV to the Renault 4 to the Beetle to the Fiat 500 and others, none of that entirely prepares you for all you’ll see here.
Go ahead, just watch:
See what I mean?
Right from the get-go, you realize something different is happening. It starts by, helpfully, addressing “What’s Pao” and at first the answers seem like the usual PR-department fluff:
But then things quickly become much more unusual, especially for car marketing:
(this is likely not in the Pride Week sense, but if so, fine by me.)
Okay, these are hinting at how it’s unusual and different, I get it. But this one?
Is there some positive connotation of “white flag” I’m missing? Does it ever not mean “giving up?” Why pick this?
Retro-virus? I guess the retro looks. But “Kurumanica?” All I can find for that is that it seems to be part of the scientific name for a South African Fleshfly? Eww.
If you’ve ever played any of these WarioWare games, these images will all seem oddly familiar:
There really feels like there had to be some sort of artistic and thematic overlap here.
The video also has the origins of the famous Pao/dinosaur ads:
I’d also love to know what she’s talking about, so excitedly:
The dash controls? I mean, I get it, they’re fun.
There’s that ukulele. Is he singing about door handles?
There’s so much here, it’s all so strange and amazing and so very, very removed from what we expect car-introduction-promo videos to be.
It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be a Pao driver, and I’ll happily wave my, um, white flag.