Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oy Ge-Volt

"Use our product and be the subject of mockery and annoying questions everywhere you go" is probably not the exact sales pitch I would use to sell something, especially something as expensive as a car. But sure, Chevy Volt, give it a shot.

Kid: "Hey, I thought these were electric."

Big ol' editorializing right off the bat. What's this kid, 12? He really recognizes the Chevy Volt on sight? Whatever.

Guy: "Uh, it is, yeah, it's a Chevy Volt."

Hey, genius, the kid obviously knows it's a Chevy Volt. And yes, I know they have to get the product name in there, but why not just have the kid say it? I'm pretty sure you can write an ad that makes sense and still get the car's name in there.

Kid: "So what are you doing at a gas station?"

I really find the writing in this commercial to be almost embarrassingly clumsy. First of all, there are various things you can do at a gas station besides buy gas. Second of all, wouldn't it make WAY more sense to have the guy putting gas in the car and the kid being like, "Wait, you're putting gas in there? I thought it was electric?" Oh, but then the commercial would just be a straightforward description of the car and wouldn't get to include a hilarious joke about the bathroom.

Guy: "Uh, well, it, it still takes gas, to go farther."
Kid: "But you're not getting gas."
Guy: "True! Not this time... uh, don't have to gas up very often."
Kid: "So you have to go to the bathroom."
Guy: ""

The BATHROOM, you guys! The bathroom. God, the humiliation associated with having to urinate in a semi-public area. I should probably lie to this sixth-grader so he won't think I'm doing something that literally everyone on the planet does, multiple times every day.

Kid: "Yes you do."
Guy 2: "I thought these were electric!"
Guy: "Yes. It's a, uh, it's a Chevy Volt."
Guy 2: "So what are you doing at a gas station?"

The slogan on the screen is "Electric when you want it, gas when you need it." On the one hand, it's smart of Chevy to address what I would assume are concerns that a lot of people have about electric cars, stuff like "what if the battery suddenly runs out" or "how powerful can it really be?" On the other hand, the attitude of this ad is "But you're probably going to want to stop only at gas stations where no one else is, because otherwise, HOLY SHIT are people going to annoy you."

Guess what, though. It gets worse.

Guy 2: "I thought these were electric."
Guy: "Uh, yeah, it's a Chevy Volt."
Guy 2: "So you're just here rubbing our noses in the fact that you don't have to buy gas?"

What? Is there a person on the planet who would say this? Seriously, everyone knows that YOU CAN DO OTHER THINGS AT A GAS STATION, right? This can't be that hard of a concept. Also, what the fuck is wrong with these people?

Guy 2: "Just plug in and go? That makes you feel better?"

Better than what? This ad was written by someone raised by wolves, with no concept of actual human interaction, right?

Guy: "Well, I still pay about a dollar fifty a day in electricity... on average..."

Not the response I would have gone with. I think "IT ALSO TAKES GAS, FUCKWAD" would have been the way to go here. But I guess they used that feature up in the other spot.

Kid: "You know, he's just here to use the bathroom."

"He thinks he's better than us, but he's not. That filthy gas station bathroom will bring him down to our level."

Attendant: "Customers only. No gas, no bathroom."
Guy: "Okay, I'll buy gas!"


Some Other Guy: "Whoa, what are you doing? I thought these were electric!"

That's right, America: the Chevy Volt. Prepare to get bombarded with stupid questions, harassed by smug pre-teens and denied the right to perform basic excretory functions, all because you have the good sense to drive an electric car. Now there is a flawless sales pitch! Honestly, short of running an ad that shows a Chevy Volt broken down on the side of the road, could you have made the ownership experience look any less appealing?


Quivering P. Landmass said...

I honestly thought at first that these commercials were attack ads run by Ford or Toyota or something. Like, "look it's no better than a Prius!" I cannot believe that GM paid money to produce and run an ad that does as much to defame its product as it does to promote it.

Anonymous said...

The worst is one I just saw before a YouTube video. It was condensed into only 10 seconds or so, making it hard to follow, and they decided to still have the guy say "I have to go to the bathroom" twice in it. I was like "What's the point? Is the idea that the car's so exciting you'll have to keep going to the bathroom?"

Not helping in any of these spots is the location of the guy's parking — if he parked next to a pump, then the other people's "I thought these were electric?" would make more sense, because you could imagine them imagining he was about to use gas.

In defense of the second one, I think they're trying to illustrate how some potential buyers' "worst case scenario" — people will think you're an elitist — isn't so bad. They were trying to counter the strongest counterargument they could think of. In a weird way, it almost makes sense that it's a plus for this product that charging the battery isn't somehow free, because Americans bond over griping over gas prices.

Of course, in reality, it seems the highest relevant cost is the initial payment for the car (so they could have had the guy say that, except it would be too counterproductive, obviously), though IANA Economist so I'm not sure.