Volt, Leaf, And The Rest: How Automakers Pitch Electric Cars Page 2

Follow Richard


You might recall that the first ad for the Nissan Leaf involved a polar bear -- a real, trained polar bear. Then came the "Zero" ad. The message? "The Leaf does great things for the environment. You're not one of those climate change deniers are you? Then buy one!"

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, though, the kid gloves have now come off:

Imagery: Yes, it's yet more memorable imagery of gas-powered objects.

Voiceover: Robert Downey Jr. delivering the theme of the ad (i.e. "What if everything ran on gas?"), with the general Leaf tagline.

Lingering message: "Wow, I never really noticed how much neat stuff runs on electricity. I should totally get a car that uses that stuff."


2011 Renault Electric

The Renault Electric, or Renault ZE, isn't available in the U.S., but we thought everyone would enjoy a look at the automaker's newest commercial. Ready to have your minds blown?

Imagery: ZOMG, still more imagery of gas-powered objects. Slightly better than the Mitsubishi clip, but not as good as Nissan's.

Voiceover: Unknown woman with a whisper-soft French accent asking why you haven't already switched to an electric car.

Lingering message: "S'il vous pay attention, it is logical that you would switch to an EV."



Since three of these four ads are basically the same, it's hard to draw many comparisons at this point. We assume that the similarities between the Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Renault ads -- produced by TWBA/Chiat/Day -- are rooted in the heavy Nissan-Renault tie-up and the weaker partnership between Nissan and Mitsubishi. Of those, Nissan's is clearly the best, but does it hold up to the Volt?

Probably not.

The Volt ad has a strong, to-the-point voiceover. It not only explains the car, but it shows it off, too -- and as conventional as that may seem, consumers have demonstrated that they like to see cars in action. In the other three clips, the vehicles seem almost like afterthoughts.

The Volt commercial also wins a few points for purely technical reasons: the car can run on gas, too, which allays range anxiety of potential customers -- especially those in the U.S. who are skittish about diesel rides, much less electric ones.

Feel free to weigh in with your own takes on these campaigns. We'll try to run an update once more models (and ads) hit the market.

Follow Us

Comments (6)
  1. this is rediculous! 3 car companies using the same ad? is that even legal?

  2. Yup, perfectly legal, and somewhat reasonable, given the tie-ups between some of the parties involved. Not such a great idea if the ads were running in the same markets -- after all, the cars *are* in competition with one another, and it's important that they carve out their own identities. In cases like this, though, advertising elves usually make sure that the spots don't cross over.

  3. The 'Mitsubishi ad' was developed by a student as an entry in a competition attached to a film festival. Mitsubishi have not aired this ad in any of their markets. Nissan have reproduced the ad with the aid of a much bigger budget and therefore better quality ad (Mits should be kicking themselves for dropping that ball). I can only imagine that renault has gone down the same path due to the Nissan-Renault alliance.

  4. Even though the ads are all the same I do like Nissan's the most because of the music they play at the beginning. It does a great job at grabbing your attention and then keep your emotions high and ending it on a smile. Tim Allen, I think has done a great job with GM commercials as well.

  5. ads, schmads. it dont make a difference. what does make a difference is how well the car works. that will be known once people start owning them. i hope all of the real evs do well. we need to get the supply side up ASAP.

  6. The shot of the Volt driver actor looking longingly at a Leaf is hilarious. Had to be an actor as they couldn't find any unhappy Volt owners.

    I saw this: "The Charged 2011 EV Symposium in Silicon Valley recently received some unplanned negative press when a few participants were left stranded by their all-electric Nissan Leafs. One participant stayed late to charge the vehicle and still required a ride home from a gas-guzzling vehicle."

    Oops. Will Nissan, et al be adding the smoke belching tow truck to their commercials?

    In the US, a Volt makes more sense, especially as a primary vehicle. Like the Leaf, it can be all electric (most of the time), but won't get stranded. And it can be driven cross country like any other car.

Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.