Audi “Not For You” Pokes Fun At Electric Car Naysayers

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Audi is beginning to bring its first all-electric car — the e-tron SUV — to market. Audi knows there are lots of potential customers out there who say they aren’t interested in buying one. Range, weather, lack of charging infrastructure — they all conspire to make people afraid of buying an electric car. In order to promote the e-tron, Audi knows it has to take away that fear.

Sales is like a war. Buyers always have their defenses up and it is the salesperson’s job to neutralize them, one at a time, until the buyer feels comfortable. One of the oldest tools in the sales toolkit is the takeaway. Everybody wants what they think they can’t have. Everybody! The technique even works on those who understand the psychology of selling. It’s why all ad campaigns end with the words, “Limited time only. Sale ends soon.” Human beings are so easy to manipulate.

As Carolyn Fortuna told us recently, education will be a key factor in the EV revolution. Audi understands this and has created a new ad campaign that both educates and disarms customer defenses. It’s called “Not For You.” It shows a potential customer running down the checklist of reasons why he would never purchase an electric car — too short a range, affected by cold, not enough chargers — and then the commercial explodes each myth in a clever, non-threatening way.

The spot shows an Audi e-tron blasting along dirt paths miles from anywhere, traversing snow-covered roads, and charging peacefully from one of multiple charging stations while people nearby fight to get near a gas pump. It even shows a snippet of an Audi-sponsored Formula E race car.

The message is educational — all those negative things you have heard about electric cars are myths. Nothing to be afraid of. Really, it’s OK. You can go ahead and buy one if you want. But if not, we understand. You have lots of good reasons not to buy an electric car and so you can’t have one! It’s like the Soup Nazi yelling, “No soup for you!” Oh, dear. Now you want one so badly you can taste it.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Have you seen Ford, or GM, or Chrysler, or Toyota, or Honda do anything like this? Nope. They are still whining all the time about how nobody wants to buy an electric car. Well played, Audi!

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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