New Brunswick Youth Orchestra release masterful clapback to car ad that rubbed them the wrong way

The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra has a message for automaker Infiniti.

If they needed musicians who could play, “they should have called us”.

It’s a direct message from orchestra president Ken MacLeod during a 60-second video his organization released on Wednesday in response to an Infiniti ad, which he says perpetuates a “tired old stereotype” about young musicians.

The ad opens with close-ups of an SUV in the middle of a concert hall, surrounded by members of a youth orchestra playing a painfully out of tune version of Richard Strauss. Also sprach Zarathustra.

Attention falls on a woman seated in the driver’s seat – presumably the relative of one of the performers – who seems discouraged by the performance, and rolls up the windows and closes the sunroof to drown out the music.

WATCH | New Brunswick Youth Orchestra responds to automaker with ‘Infinity of Talent’

Nissan ad perpetuates ‘tired old stereotype’, says leader of youth orchestra

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra President Ken MacLeod responds to a car ad with a playful punch to upend the stereotype of youth and bad music. 2:32

MacLeod said the commercial struck a “negative chord” with him the first time he saw it.

“We felt, because we’re a leader in this space of children’s and youth music, that it was our duty, maybe even our responsibility to somehow respond to that.” , said MacLeod, in an interview.

“Although [the Infiniti commercial] is ironic, there’s still an old, tired stereotype of youth and bad music. And so our message here is that our kids are incredibly talented.”

In the video, titled INFINITE Young TalentsMacLeod gets out of an SUV and heads for the entrance to the Imperial Theater in Saint John, while the same song used in the Infiniti commercial plays in the background.

“Have you seen the new Nissan-Infiniti ad?” MacLeod asks.

“Can you imagine? A big company like that couldn’t find a youth orchestra to play the music.

“They should have called us. The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra.”

Infiniti’s ad depicts a mother rolling up the windows and closing the sunroof of her SUV to drown out the sound of her daughter’s orchestra. (Infinity)

As he opens the door, the music picks up and the camera pans inside the theatre, where NBYO members perform a seemingly perfect rendition of the iconic composition.

CBC News asked Infiniti if it had seen NBYO’s response to its ad.

In an email, company spokesman Didier Marsaud called the video “incredible”.

“We love that the music education conversation is brought to light,” he said.

Marsaud also defended the company’s ad, saying it intended to show how the quiet interior, along with the massaging front seats, “can ease the stress of the day a bit and allow occupants to live with style”.

Round of applause for the answer

Infiniti isn’t alone in singing the praises of NBYO’s display of talent and spirit.

MacLeod said since the video was released on Wednesday, he has received emails and messages from people across North America praising the organization for the statement it made.

The video itself was a hit online, racking up more than 14,000 views on YouTube on Friday and generating dozens of positive comments.

“Thank you so much for showing what a group of committed and inspired young musicians can really be like!” commented Doug MacNaughton.

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra president Ken MacLeod says the ad struck a negative chord with him, prompting the decision to make the video in direct response (Pierre Fournier/Radio Canada)

MacLeod said he hoped the video would send the message that young people of all skill and talent levels should be encouraged to play music.

“Let’s encourage, motivate, engage and equip our children to reach the highest levels,” he said.

“We know they can do it, and that’s a great thing.”

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