One of the most memorable new EV ads features the Porsche Taycan, and it won’t air during the Super Bowl.
It’s called "Mr. E," and this unofficial ad-style short goes in territory that hasn’t been touched by big ad campaigns or by EV advocacy groups: Imbue electric vehicles, or the idea of electricity as a misunderstood force of good, with human qualities.
It might take a view—or two, or three—to appreciate. But based on what happens in the last half-minute or so, you’ll likely want to watch it again.
The cinematic short is a product of Jeremy Heslup, of Valkyr Productions, who produced the ad on-spec, meaning they self-funded its production to show what they’re capable of.
It was shot at 11 locations, with 25 cast and 10 crew at a time due to Covid restrictions, Heslup told Green Car Reports. They started with the idea in October, and it took about a month to cast, with final color done by Company 3 this month.
“I feel that the EV market is reaching a tipping point where it becomes not only practical but also fun,” said Heslup, who drives a 1975 Porsche 911 Targa. “Mr. E is a way to bottle up the ethos of the brand and effort surrounding the car into a relatable and memorable character.”
Granted, the ad might have reached out to a new audience merely by choosing a different physical form. The creators could have cast a “Ms. E” instead—perhaps someone who’s not wearing a sanctimonious turtleneck-and-blazer combo, or delivering what sounds like a German-Austrian accent, although we understand the tie-in with Nikola Tesla and Porsche.
The German hat-tips aren’t coincidental, and credit where credit is due, it’s not an original concept. It’s a brilliant concept, albeit a direct takeoff—an homage—of this 2007 ad, “Mr. W,” originally produced for the German Ministry for the Environment.
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S first drive - Los Angeles, CA
Porsche did run an official Taycan ad during last year’s Super Bowl. In “The Heist," a group of “thieves” sneak out from the museum with the Taycan and other classics.
That—and GM's new ad featuring Will Ferrell challenging Norway's leadership on EVs—might indeed be a better fit for the Big Game, but for those of us raised on decades of ads, movies, and TV shows that anthropomorphize tire-shredding, gasoline-swilling cars, this very different take is also a good start.
Is an ad like “Mr. E” more likely to grab those who haven’t thought as much about what’s fueling and powering their vehicle? What if this were a real Super Bowl ad? Let us know what you think in your comments below.