If you’re a parent you’ll know how eager companies are to convince your kids how important their product is. Be it the latest toy, a new film release or even a holiday location, advertising companies know that pester power is one of the most effective ways to get a parent to make a purchase.
If it works for toys then why not for cars? Normally automakers keep clear of aiming cars at kids for one obvious reason: they can’t drive. But Nissan has bucked the trend with a kid-centric mini website devoted to the 2011 LEAF.
A flash-based animation, the mini site is arranged into six interactive chapters and revolves around a family’s electric adventures after deciding the all-electric LEAF would make a good replacement to their old and unreliable gasoline car.
In the best (or perhaps worst) tradition of childhood direct marketing, the site features a sickly sweet stereotypical family of mom, dad, daughter and son. There’s even a set of grandparents too.
By clicking on various parts of the screen, children can advance the animation. Sadly dialogue is not spoken: instead a morse-code like beeping represents talking, while the actual story is played out using speech bubbles.
We’re sure younger children will find the site exciting and informative, but we found the repetitive music reminiscent of a late 80s cartoon and repetitive beeping-conversation grated after a few minutes.
If you can survive the way it is delivered, the story covers important topics such as carbon emissions, ease of use, air quality and recharging.
But the real thing that has left us scratching our heads is why the animation portrays the Nissan LEAF dealers as being a talking giraffe and a talking dog.
Of course, this isn’t the first time kids have been targeted to help sell an electric car. Believe it or not, the music to the ill-fated 2011 Chevrolet Volt dance was originally meant to be a song for children between the ages of 7 and 11.
Our favourite electric car song for children though has to be “Electric Car”, sung by American alternative rock band They Might Be Giants.
Combining great animation and genuine musical talent, we think Nissan could learn a lot, but if our own experiences are anything to go by, children don’t actually need convincing that electric cars are cool anyway.