Volt vs. Leaf: Dueling Ads Reveal Different Marketing Approaches

Posted on 21. Jul, 2010 by in Clean Tech, Design & Culture, Products

By BC Upham

One has Lance Armstrong, the other has…silence. Following on the heels of the Tour d’France commercial for the Nissan all-electric Leaf, Chevrolet has begun running advertisements for its forthcoming range-extended electric car, the Volt, in select markets. (compare both after the jump)

The Chevy Volt ad does not actually show the car, which may be to its advantage, since the Volt, on sale in November, is probably not the sexiest model in GM’s line-up (most hybrids are pretty ugly). Instead all one sees is the onrushing open road — the future, one might say — and what one hears is, well, not much.

And that’s the idea: there’s no noise since there is no internal combustion engine. These cars make just a whirring sound, “the sound of the status quo crumbling,” according to text that flashes on the screen. Although the Volt is technically a hybrid, because it uses both electric and gasoline fuel, an electric motor is what makes it go (and thus makes it so relatively quiet).

The Voltertisement stands in contrast to that for the Leaf, on sale in December, which, in terms of tone, could be an ad for any car. It features cute, swiftly-cut visuals of cars and their tailpipes and a celebrity endorsement from Armstrong, who announces that now there is finally a car he can ride his bike behind that doesn’t spew exhaust fumes in his face.

That Chevy chose to go epic with its Volt ad is revealing: the company is essentially proclaiming, “pay attention — this is a big deal.” And it is, especially for GM, which has a lot riding on the success of the Volt.

Nissan’s ad on the other hand treats the world’s first mass-produced all-electric car with much less suspense or drama, instead relying on a clever concept.

The two approaches really represent the split personality of the electric car market as it is now. Ultimately, EVs will have to be considered run-of-the-mill to move from the TV set to the garage en-mass. But right now they are still exotic, still perhaps worthy of a “drum-roll, please…”

So what do you think? Which approach is more successful? Nissan’s friendly, “here we are!” or Chevy’s build-the-suspense campaign?

Read the original article: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/07/volt-versus-leaf-on-tv-dueling-electric-car-ads-reveal-different-marketing-approaches/#ixzz0uM199i2F

And If you liked what Ben had to say, here is a link to more of his posts at triplepundit.com: http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bupham/

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