It wasn’t a surprise when Nissan reached into its long history to promote cars like the new Z, or to bring out a classic Skyline GT-R for a Japanese market commercial. Those are beloved models and the older generations enjoy a devoted following. However, it did surprise us to see, during last night’s NBA finals game, a series of ads featuring glimpses of a first-gen WD21 Pathfinder.
Here is one of several spots that Nissan ran. Some featured a dad driving his family in the 2022 Pathfinder, with flashbacks of him inside the original 1987 Pathfinder riding shotgun with his dad. Accompanying the story was footage of a red WD21 speeding through the forest or desert, passing behind a tree or rock, only to have a red modern Pathfinder emerge. Designers did go back to the original Pathfinder for inspiration when shaping the new one, but it was still a “wait, did I just see that?” moment when the first-gen appeared on TV.
Incidentally, Is it the greatest Pathfinder commercial to ever exist? No, that would go to the 1996 spot in which an action figure rescued a doll from her boring boyfriend, a sequel to the famous 300ZX ad with the same theme. Nevertheless, it’s good to see Nissan getting a bit of its mojo back with its recent marketing efforts.
UPDATE: Nissan has uploaded more ads featuring the 1987 Pathfinder to YouTube.