Monday, February 13, 2012

Low Voltage

The 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? is an exploration of the reasons why the initial attempt at production of electric cars in America failed. Various possible reasons were cited, including the desire of the oil companies to spike a competing fuel source, a lack of appeal to consumers, and fears on the part of the automakers that long-term revenues would drop because electric cars required comparatively little maintenance.

Well, between last fall's ad campaign for the Chevy Volt and the one they've started running recently, I think I have an idea for a sequel in case the electric car fails again: shitty advertising.


[A bunch of aliens are examining the Chevy Volt in a guy's garage.]
Alien: "Chevy Volt!"
Guy: "Guys... this is the third time this week."
[Aliens look somewhat chastened]
Guy: "Okay, I'll say it again. It's electric..."
Alien: "Electric."
Guy: "But when I need to go farther, it uses gas."
Alien: "Gas."
Guy: "Please, tell me you understand..."

You know what, Chevy? Don't fucking flatter yourself. Do you think really think this idea is such a hard concept? Hey, it uses electric and gas! Congratulations, it's a fucking hybrid, except it reverses the typical order of fuel usage. EVERYONE GETS IT. It was bad enough in the initial ad where the premise was "idiots at the gas station will hassle you because they're confused, because this is just WAY too complicated for people to grasp." Now we're really out in the depths of the egos of Chevy's design team. "That's right, not even space aliens who have mastered the technology of interstellar travel understand how a car could possibly have two power sources!"

Here's how a Chevy Volt ad plays out in real life. Ready?

Guy: "Hey, I thought that was an electric car."
Volt owner: "Yeah, it mostly is, but it does use gas as a backup power source for longer trips."
Guy: "Oh, okay."

FIN, assholes. No one is confused by the Chevy Volt. And by pretending that everyone is, you're making yourselves look like supercilious dicks.

I'm not even going to talk about the ridiculous "punchline" to this ad, since it doesn't deserve comment. I will say, though, between the electric car and the aliens, was anyone else reminded of "We Do," the song sung by the Stonecutters in the classic Simpsons episode "Homer the Great," when they saw this ad? I'm just saying, if Steve Guttenberg pops up in the next Volt ad I'm gonna be really suspicious.

1 comment:

Quivering P. Landmass said...

It's astonishing that they have nothing to say about electric cars other than "Sometimes they're gas-powered."

How about, like, any number of 80,000 other, more interesting things you can say about electric cars.