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

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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.

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