Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube

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.

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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:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube

But then things quickly become much more unusual, especially for car marketing:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube

(this is likely not in the Pride Week sense, but if so, fine by me.)

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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Okay, these are hinting at how it’s unusual and different, I get it. But this one?

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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Is there some positive connotation of “white flag” I’m missing? Does it ever not mean “giving up?” Why pick this?

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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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.

Then there’s these sequences that feel just like they’re from a Nintendo WarioWare video game. I’ve noticed a relationship here before:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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If you’ve ever played any of these WarioWare games, these images will all seem oddly familiar:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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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:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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I’d also love to know what she’s talking about, so excitedly:

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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The dash controls? I mean, I get it, they’re fun.

Illustration for article titled Somehow We've Never Shown This Gleefully Bonkers Nissan Pao Promo Movie
Screenshot: YouTube
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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.

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It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be a Pao driver, and I’ll happily wave my, um, white flag.

(Thanks, Jonee!)

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

If that Pao song isn't your ringtone I'm going to be disappointed