Allyson Witherspoon, chief marketing officer for Nissan U.S., wants viewers to see Nissan "in a different light and in an unexpected way" in the ad, which is called "Thrill Driver." The spot also features actors Brie Larson, Dave Bautista and Danai Gurira, who are all action heroes in their own right, and Catherine O'Hara, who starred with Levy in the sitcom "Schitt's Creek."
The 60-second spot is slated to air in the fourth quarter.
"It is a transformation story. One drive can change everything," Witherspoon told Automotive News. "And you see the transformation of Eugene Levy's character in that as he gets into the Z, you get some comedic moments with him fumbling with the manual gearshift. It is this powerful car that really felt like it could tell the transformation story."
This is Nissan's first Super Bowl spot since 2015, when it featured the GT-R LM Nismo race car in a tale about the son of a race car driver growing up while his father was away, and only the second since 1997.
Nissan has been running a yearlong brand campaign as it updates its product portfolio, and with the Ariya and Z on the way soon, Witherspoon said the timing was right to get back into the game. The Nissan brand's U.S. sales rebounded in 2021, jumping 12 percent to 919,086 as the industry recovered from the pandemic while dealing with a global microchip shortage. In 2020, the pandemic helped end the brand's eight-year streak of at least 1 million sales.
Nissan decided to release its spot more than a week before the Super Bowl instead of waiting until the game, as some brands do. The brand began teasing it Jan. 31 before debuting it during NBC's "Today" show Feb. 3.