Ridley Scott commercials are works of art.
Fast cars are fun. They are the closest any of us will get to being in NASCAR or F1 racing. You sit behind the wheel, hear a powerful engine rev, and the sound takes you over. It feels like nothing can catch you.
That feeling was the marketing behind Nissan's 1990 300ZX Turbo. In its most famous commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, they tell a story of a dreamer and the attempts made to catch him in his Twin Turbo Z.
This spot aired only once, during the Super Bowl. So why was it pulled?
Check it out below.
It feels like every car commercial is about driving fast. You know the disclaimer they play? "This is a professional driver on a closed course," the one that completely demystifies what's happening?
Well, Ridley Scott's commercial didn't have that.
It had a car moving fast over a landscape. It had an airplane and motorcycles and an F1 chasing it.
“I’m in a Turbo Z,” says the narrator of the resulting spot “Turbo Dream,” first broadcast during Super Bowl XXIV in 1990. “These guys are after me, but they can’t catch me."
And “just as they’re about to catch me, the twin turbos kick in.”
This commercial seemed to usher in something bigger. It was a new way to think about sports cars. Brief history lesson: Japanese sports cars were not popular in the 70s or 80s, but in the 90s they were taking America by storm.
The American auto industry was upset, and Hollywood actually saw some anti-Japanese sentiment. We saw bad guys in movies who were Japanese. One of those movies was Ridley Scott's Black Rain, which is actually a pretty interesting movie overall, but did play into the public sentiment of the time.
Still, Scott followed that up with this Nissan commercial, which got in trouble for a lot of reasons that seem kind of dumb today.
"The commercial was protested by groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives and others," writes Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky. “The issue was that the ad was thought to glorify speeding,” and the commercial never aired again.
I feel like the car commercials we see today do this all the time. But it's funny to think about Ridley Scott being in trouble for glorifying speeding in the early 90s. The car just drives in a straight line. I don't even think what we see seems dangerous.
It's also nice to see a car commercial that doesn't involve the salt flats in Utah with aimless driving across a dry lake bed.
Do you think this commercial should have been pulled? Let me know what you think in the comments.