Regrettably, but just in case: this isn’t real. Nissan isn’t claiming it’s real. What, then, is the appeal? Is it that when you own a Frontier you feel as though you could do such things? You can’t, so what good is that? Oh, it’s supposed to make you feel that way about the things you can do? The Frontier is supposed to be a tool for your actual life. Fair enough, but then why not dramatize actual life?
The reason why not is because actual life isn’t appealing. Not in this culture. In this culture, life is characterized by two pervasive, subconscious convictions: nothing is worth doing unless there is a chance of being recognized by others, and life is a never-ending series of emergencies, failures, disasters. In other words, this commercial works because it allows experiences which don’t satisfy that need and belief (respectively) to feel as if they do satisfy them. In other words: Nissan is exploiting the average person’s inability to respond emotionally to real life by making him respond to his (unhealthy) desires for recognition and the avoidance of disaster – the very desires which caused his emotional impotence – all while hiding behind the pretense of attempting to inspire the consumer to feel proud of his actual life (ie: what is inspiring about the impossible – especially when, unlike in in actual fiction, every attempt is made to make this “fictionalization” appear to be real?)
Based solely upon it’s actual characteristics, there’s nothing overwhelmingly superior about Nissan’s pick-up truck (as opposed to Ford’s, or GM’s, or Toyota’s, et cetera), but if the potential customer feels as if there is something special, there’s a better chance that he’ll pick it. All Nissan must count upon for that to happen is that he will fail to realize that what’s “special” to him about The Frontier is not the truck itself, but the sensations he felt when he saw the commercial. In other words: he is being sold a kind of therapeutic flattery, and expected to pay for it by buying a particular truck which may not actually be best for his actual life.
It’s predatory, but it’s also short-term thinking on the company’s part. Nissan is concerned with making a sale now, and what they contribute to doing to the average person’s mind is beyond the range of balance-sheet prudence. The fact that such people will, over time, be less and less able to make rational decisions considering the facts and only the facts – and thus have less wealth to trade for things like automobiles, as well as more likely to support public policies which will make the production of automobiles more difficult if not impossible – is not something a highly-leveraged company like Nissan – with extremely small profit margins – can concern itself with. The tragic irony, of course, is that the only reason why companies like Nissan are in this precarious position, the only reason why they have to resort to this kind of advertising, is because the majority of the people in today’s culture already are damaged, and already have done exactly those things.