A low-level corporate accountant’s car makes his colleagues think he’s higher up the ladder than he really is. It’s a minor variation on one of the most basic car commercial messages out there: “This car will make you appear more important.” (Other basic messages include “This fuel-efficient car will make you appear more conscious and compassionate,” and “This pick-up truck will make you appear more bad-ass as you plow through mud in the middle of nowhere.”) Still, as a 30-second story, this Nissan Sentra ad seemed tight and somewhat clever– at least it did the first time I saw it. Now after seeing it multiple times, all I can think about is how confusing its premise becomes the more I think about it.
So let’s recap: We open on a VIP-looking guy (CEO of a company, I presume) waiting outside an office building (presumably his company’s) while a young woman (presumably his secretary) says in a timid, apologetic tone, “I called the car myself” (presumably a taxi or livery cab). The boss looks at her to express his irritation- presumably he’s got a very important meeting and he’ll be embarrassingly late if this car doesn’t get here soon. Overhearing the situation, a friendly but obviously less-important dude offers the boss a ride. Once inside the car, the boss asks, “Who are you again?” And in a much humbler manner than Ken Cosgrove would, the employee replies, “Daniels, sir… Accounts.”
Then they make another stop to pick up another important-looking suit at another office building, and when she asks, “Who’s this?” the boss introduces Daniels as a “key player” in accounts. They make a third stop for a third suit at a third office building, who also wants to know who the driver is, and the woman, apparently judging by Daniels’ luxurious-looking Nissan Sentra, further promotes Daniels to “director” of accounts. Finally, the car arrives at a fourth office building, and as the three suits walk toward their important meeting, Daniels stays in the car and wishes them good luck. “Come on, Daniels,” the boss says. “You’re VP of accounts, aren’t you?” So Daniels plays along and hustles after them.
But wait a second– why was Daniels picking up two other suits at two other office buildings? Don’t these people all work for the same company? Were they being picked up from other meetings on their way to this meeting? Do they work for separate companies who are working together for this particular meeting? Is that a thing corporate people do? And where was Daniels headed to begin with? Maybe he was just going to lunch, but it seems more likely that he was going to his own meeting. And if that’s the case, won’t he be blowing that meeting off to sit in on this meeting where he doesn’t belong? Does he think the benefits of pretending to be VP of accounts– a ruse which will surely be discovered soon enough– outweigh the consequences of skipping the meeting he was actually supposed to attend? I mean I don’t have much experience in the corporate arena, so maybe I’m out of my element here, but I’m pretty sure this particular scenario doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.