Nissan offers Saudi women a special driving lesson

It is the latest in a string of marketing campaigns targeting women since King Salman’s decision to lift the ban on female drivers

In this image made from video released by, a Saudi Arabian woman drives a car as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Friday, June 17, 2011. Several Saudi women boldly got behind the wheel Friday, including one who managed a 45-minute trip through the nation's capital, seeking to ignite a road rebellion against the male-only driving rules in the ultraconservative kingdom. (AP Photo/ EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES *** Local Caption ***  Mideast Saudi Women Drivers.JPEG-0b2e0.jpg

Nissan Middle East has given women in Saudi Arabia special driving lessons to mark the country’s landmark decision to lift the ban on female drivers.

In a decree issued in September, King Salman ordered an end to the ban on women drivers by June, a conservative tradition that has limited women's mobility.

Saudi Arabia is the only country that bans women drivers. The royal decree has been hailed as proof of a new progressive trend led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Car adverts have exploded since the ban was lifted, with companies determined to woo this unexpected new market.

In Nissan’s latest campaign by brand and agency TBWA/RAAD, themed #SheDrives, a group of women were taken out for their first lesson behind the wheel.

The documentary-style film by Nissan showed how many women are hesitant about being able to drive in public because of prejudice against them and fears that their male relatives will disapprove.

The twist came in the choice of instructors. The women were all taken by surprise when it turned out that men close to them, such as their fathers, brothers and husbands, were to be their driving instructors for the day.

The video shows the women’s shock and happiness as their relatives arrive, and tracks how their confidence grows during the lessons.


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There are intimate and often amusingly fraught engagements between the new drivers and their instructors.

Men are showed shouting “Hit the brakes, hit the brakes!”, looking tense with their jaws tights and their hands itching to grab the wheel and take control.

In another scene, a woman shouts, “I can do it!”

“Just drive,” her father complains.

“Say it. Come on, say ‘My daughter is a good driver,'” she urges.

“OK. Just go,” her father says.

“No. Say, ‘My daughter is a master!'”

The feel-good film carries a message that despite certain societal stereotypes and prejudices, people are prepared to offer their support when it comes to their loved ones.

It concludes with the women saying how they felt safe and comfortable knowing their relatives were next to them, while the men proclaim their support for female driving licences.

The significance of King Salman’s ruling is also reflected on, with one man declaring: “One day this whole thing is going to be part of history.”

Nissan is sharing the campaign with the hashtag #SheDrives in order to encourage women to apply for their licences.