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The Dubious Physics Of Nissan's Terrible Truck Ads

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Nissan's ad campaign for the Frontier has the pickup engaging in absurd and impossible stunts like snowboarding, dune-riding and catching an airplane wheel in the bed of the truck. The commercials are, in word, terrible. Let's use physics to show you why.

Watching Nissan's series of wildly hyperbolic ads for their Frontier pickup, it's hard not to imagine the original pitch meeting in your head:

NISSAN GUY: What are those four words we can put on the bottom of the screen that let us show anything we want, no matter how inane or inaccurate?

AD GUY: "Dramitization, do not attempt?"

NISSAN GUY: Yeah, those! Let's do that!

And so it began. What makes these ads so awful isn't just that they tell you absolutely nothing about the vehicle — it's that they tell you less than nothing. They actively lie to you rather than tell you something useful. And the problem is that people who buy trucks are smart consumers — they want to know details about the capabilities of their trucks.


And the thing is, I've seen this before — but they were ads for the Toyota Tundra four years ago. At least those, while ridiculous, were attempting to tell you something about the truck.

Because, when you watch the Nissan ads — particularly the one with the truck replacing the landing gear of a landing plane, you just get this sense of an insecure kid's sad daydreams of heroism. Really, Nissan may as well just come out and show a guy getting his prostate cancer cured by sitting in the front seat — it'd be as accurate as anything else here.


So, to really settle this, I had Jalopnik's Official Unofficial Physicist, Dr.Stephen Granade, go through each ad and explain, with science, why they're horseshit. Here's the results:

Science Smackdown: Nissan Frontier Airplane Ad

Science Smackdown: Nissan Frontier Snowboarding Ad

Science Smackdown: Nissan Frontier Dune Buggy Ad