How Nissan won the internet with a four-hour ad

May 1, 2023

Automaker Nissan recently took a massive gamble: To promote its new electric Ariya SUV, the car company began running a four-hour ad on YouTube. What could have led to outrage instead became a viral success, attracting more than 17 million views and thousands of positive comments.

“This is how commercials should be,” reads one of those comments, while another commenter exclaims: “I didn’t even notice this was [an] ad! I love it so much.”

The secret to Nissan’s success was that the ad was specifically produced for a popular YouTube channel: Lofi Girl, a 24/7 livestream of relaxing instrumental beats, accompanied by the animated video of a girl penning notes while a cat peacefully naps in the background. Nissan’s ad not only uses a similar soundtrack, but also a closely aligned aesthetic. The video features an animation of a woman driving through a beautiful countryside, very occasionally passing subtly placed billboards for the Nissan Ariya.