ADVERTISING: The New Tree Sell

In the keenly competitive auto business, where advertising hyperbole often spouts like steam from a cracked radiator, the latest Datsun promotion offers a soothing change. It is a coolly understated print and broadcast campaign aimed at improving the environment and showing critics that automakers do care about ecology, as well as boosting sales. In one television commercial, Nature Photographer Ansel Adams strolls through a woodland scene, stresses the need to save the nation's forests and asks viewers to "Drive a Datsun, plant a tree."

That is the campaign's theme. The promotion calls for the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Nissan Motor...

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