Advertising is crucial for automakers trying to explain the benefits of electric cars to an often-skeptical public. So what better forum than the advertising mecca that is the Super Bowl?
While teams battle for the National Football League championship during Super Bowl XLIX, BMW will try to catch customers' attention with an ad for its i3 electric car on Sunday, February 1.
This is BMW's first Super Bowl ad in four years. Back in 2011, it used a spot during the game to promote its diesel models.
[UPDATED: The ad was released one week later, on Monday, January 26th. We've inserted it at the top of the article where you can view it yourself.
It stars Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel in a pair of scenes, from 1994 and today. Electric-car advocate Chris Neff commented, "If that steering wheel was connected he would be in the weeds with the way he is moving it around."]
Advertising agency KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners) created the commercial, but BMW hasn't released any information about what it will show.
"Big ideas like the BMW i3 take a little getting used to," said BMW North America marketing VP Trudy Hardy, who explained the ad would "play on this analogy."
"Brilliant but misunderstood" has been the thesis of many a biography, but will it work as the tagline for a car ad?
With its electric powertrain and radical design, the i3 certainly doesn't fit the stereotypical image of a BMW--and the company hasn't shied away from that in its promotion of the car so far.
It doesn't seem to have bothered buyers too much either.
BMW i3 at DC fast-charging station
BMW says it sold more than 16,000 i3s during calendar year 2014, and could see them continue.
The i3 went on sale in the U.S. last May. Out of eight months on sale, four saw volumes in excess of 1,000 units--meaning BMW could sell more than 10,000 i3s in the U.S. in 2015.
Putting the electric car in front of one of the biggest television audiences of the year certainly couldn't hurt the chances of that occurring.
In addition to BMW, there will be Super Bowl ads this year for Kia, Nissan, Lexus--which will plug its NX crossover--and Toyota.