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Marketing Electric Cars As ‘Medicine’ = Fail, Movie Producer Says

Why would you buy a plug-in electric car? To save money on gas? To save the planet?

Maybe. But that’s not how they should be marketed, said Hollywood producer Dean Devlin.

“The Volt is an amazing, groundbreaking car,” he said. “The Leaf is a gigantic breakthrough–but they’re being sold as medicine.”

Any advertising theme that conveys a “should” or even a societal benefit is doomed to fail, in his view, because it brands plug-in cars as something that you probably won’t enjoy.

Devlin is a long-time electric-car driver, and producer of the noted documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?

He made his comments during the final plenary session to wrap up the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Awful Volt ads

Devlin had particularly harsh words for a pair of Volt ads.

The first was the Super Bowl ad entitled “Morning in Hamtramck,” showing a Volt production line in the streets of Hamtramck, the Detroit community where the assembly plant is located.

Hamtramck Chevy Volt Ad
“This isn’t just the carwe wanted to build,” narrator Tim Allen intones, “It’s the car America had to build.”

Devlin’s response: “Huh?” Are customers, he asked, supposed to be attracted to Volts when the maker says it was forced to build them?

(He also pointed out that the ad hardly shows an actual completed Chevrolet Volt, since it’s mostly in-process assembly shots.)


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