2014-'15 Nissan Commercial Vehicles Tough Love Campaign Goes Viral


  • Nissan "Tough Love" Video Picture

    Nissan "Tough Love" Video Picture

    The Nissan "Tough Love" video quickly went viral with 1.5 million views in less than 48 hours of the release. | August 06, 2014

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Just the Facts:
  • The Bret Michaels "Tough Love" video pitching the 2014-'15 Nissan NV Cargo, NV Passenger and NV200 Compact vans quickly went viral with 1.5 million views in less than 48 hours last week.
  • The rock icon and TV reality star spoke to Edmunds on Tuesday about the campaign's backstory, his advice for Nissan dealers and why "there was nothing I had to be a hypocrite about."
  • Michaels also acknowledged that the "Bandanaman" bobblehead on the dashboard of one of the vans in the video has taken on a life of its own.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Bret Michaels "Tough Love" video pitching the 2014-'15 Nissan NV Cargo, NV Passenger and NV200 Compact vans quickly went viral with 1.5 million views in less than 48 hours last week.

The rock icon and TV reality star spoke to Edmunds on Tuesday about the campaign's backstory, his advice for Nissan dealers and why "there was nothing I had to be a hypocrite about."

"I've had to turn down more campaigns than I've taken," he said in a phone conversation from his tour bus following an appearance at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. "But you look at what it represents. With this campaign, there was nothing I had to be a hypocrite about."

Michaels calls himself an "absolute car and motorcycle enthusiast.

"I live for the open road," he said. "I have a ranch in Arizona with its own motocross course, its own Baja course. I am a small entrepreneur. I started out hauling my gear around in the back of my van and going gig to gig. I could bring light to what these vans could do, whether it's a small business or on a personal level."

The Nissan commercial vehicles are relative newcomers to the market. The Nissan NV Passenger van in the video competes with the 2014 Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana.

Michaels said his first van was an old Econoline he used to transport musical equipment when he was 16 and growing up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

"We called it white-on-rust," he said. "We were able to put the shag carpet in to hide the rust. Then, we bought an old ambulance in 1984 and I drove that across the U.S. with my gear to try to make it big in California."

Michaels said he is convinced that Nissan dealers will not have a tough time pitching the commercial vehicles to entrepreneurs.

"Have a good vocabulary of what you are capable of doing with these vehicles," he said. "Don't hard sell them. There's a lot of stuff you can do with them. You use them during the week and can load them up with personal stuff on the weekend."

Michaels is one of a long line of rock artists and rappers who have been tapped by automakers to move the metal. Other examples include Bob Seger, who pitched Chevrolet trucks in the "Like a Rock" campaign, and Eminem, whose 2011 Chrysler Super Bowl video went viral.

"People who love music are passionate and love the open road," Michaels said. "Music drives things and pushes things along. I'm speaking to you as I look at the open road. It's a natural fit."

Michaels also acknowledged that the "Bandanaman" bobblehead on the dashboard of one of the Nissan vans in the video has taken on a life of its own.

"Already people everywhere are screaming for it," he said.

Edmunds says: Michaels said he could envision a new reality TV show entitled "Rock of Tough Love." Of course, the Nissan commercial vehicle lineup would co-star.

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