— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) June 6, 2016
If some goodhearted, genuinely trying people came up with the new Ford Focus Electric ad featuring Captain Planet, I’m sorry to criticize it, but it is a really lame attempt to sell an electric car.
First of all, let’s get this out of the way: People know electric cars are greener. Even if they simply associate electric cars with conventional hybrids (which is quite common), they know they’re greener. You don’t sell cars by telling people that they have wheels and thus can move you from one place to another. Similarly, simply telling someone “this car is green” won’t do the trick either.
In fact, let’s acknowledge the fact that many (completely ignorant) people actually will not buy a car because it’s sold as “green.”
Rolling in a cartoon from the 1990s probably doesn’t help either. “Oh, you are now a big boy (or big girl) and want to get a new car? How about we sell it to you like you’re 7 years old?”
Cute? Yes. Fun? Probably. Effective? Heck no.
As I wrote years ago when I finally drove some electric cars for the first time, these cars are awesome to drive! And it is hugely missed messaging to not convey to lay people that instant torque is a total blast. Aside from featuring that, you could focus on how instant torque makes driving less stressful. Or you could focus on the fact that you wake up every day with a “full tank.” Or you could focus on the joy of never having to go to a gas station. Or you could focus on the super smooth and quiet ride.
Or, if you’re really trying to sell on the “green” angle, make a compelling, shocking advertisement — focusing on the point that the Arctic could be without ice for the first time in 100,000 years this year, and if we keep this up, it could get so hot on Earth that we literally can’t go outside. If you want to play the green angle, you at least have to work to make people better understand what’s at stake there.
But no, Ford tried to sell us on a Focus Electric without referencing the better driving experience (instant torque, smooth, quiet), without highlighting the convenience of home charging and no more trips to the gas station, and without throwing a wakeup call at the consumer. How effective will this ad be? I’m not expecting much, but maybe it’ll have more effect than this one from fall of 2015, which was apparently the first ad for the car after 4 years on the market….
No, I don’t think Ford is trying hard to sell its Focus Electric, even though it competes fairly well with the much-higher-selling Nissan LEAF. (Granted, I’m not saying it is better than the LEAF — but it does have some serious selling points over the world leader.)
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