It’s always frustrating to me when a TV spot is memorable, but fails in every way possible. It has a unique approach. It has a subtle humor. And it even prompts an emotional reaction.

Yet, Nissan’s new Leaf campaign, built around the idea of “what if gas powered everything,” gets it all wrong.

There are two basic reasons why. One is simply a pet peeve of mine. When ads are a skit or a story with the company logo appearing at the end, the spot does little to build brand meaning and awareness because the brand is not embedded into the entirety of the spot. It’s single biggest reason why most can’t remember who ads like this are for. They just remember the spot.

The second reason is one all marketers should remember. Are you creating preference for your particular brand or the category as a whole? In this case, it’s for the category of electric cars as a whole. It simply demonstrates, with humor, the reasons why you would want to buy an electric car. There is no differentiation between the Leaf and its competitors.

When you are creating preference for the entire category, you are counting on the rising water to lift all boats, including yours. But what happens more often than not is that the market leader benefits the most.

It’s that reason why you wouldn’t be the only one who thought the ads were for the Prius.