In the world of advertising and marketing, there’s really no limit to how low you can go, which Disney is proving with its branded partnership with Nissan Altima for Mary Poppins Returns.
In two ads, currently online and also screening in front of the theatrical version of the film, Disney and Nissan painfully juxtapose the design and technological craft of filmmaking with those of car manufacturing. In the ad, a Nissan representative offers up this non sequitur thought: “In the same way that filmmakers combine artistry and innovative technology to bring their stories to life, this is how we’ve created the impossibly smart Altima.”
Jeremy Tucker, vice president, marketing communications and media for Nissan North America, explained in an interview why the partnership with Disney made sense: “[W]e had to think about what do we do to reimagine the future of the sedan for our fans. What does it mean from a driving perspective, from a technical perspective? How do we take what we love about a sedan, the drive and the iconicness of the Altima, one of our best models and a tremendous nameplate for Nissan, and modernize it, without losing who we are.”
Tucker added that Disney faced the same challenge with its sequel to Mary Poppins: “How do you take it to the next level by taking what’s loved, but through the lens of technology, through the lens of creativity and through the lens of design, bringing something new and fresh that brings the best of the past with the promise of the future.”
Still, it’s a partnership that’s strung together by the most tenuous of links, and which manages to make both companies look bad simultaneously.
Why would you want a car manufacturer want to associate itself with a film where the lead character uses a revolutionary aerial transportation technology that makes automobiles look like a stone age contraption?
And what does the Walt Disney Company gain by explicitly comparing the creative craft of filmmaking with an assembly-line manufacturer that churns out slightly updated versions of the same product year after year? It’s almost as if Disney is trying to tell us something about all of their recent remakes.