The last time I watched the Super Bowl was in 2009 when my team finally made it and won. To be honest, I am a Saints and Tigers girl, and if they aren’t playing, I’m rarely paying attention. But I’m not all the way under my horde of rocks, gems, and minerals.
Like everyone, I’ve seen that GM ad in which actor Will Ferrell notes that Norway sells far more EVs per capita than the US, and then goes on to talk about GM’s new Ultium battery and say, “Let’s go, America!”
I have to agree with Zach Shahan about the ad being a bit stupid. Yes, Norway is the leader in EV adoption but what the ad didn’t mention is that the second best selling car in Norway last year was an American-made car, the Tesla Model 3. Further, the Model 3 was the top selling vehicle in the country in 2019, and the Model S and Model X sold well there for years when the market was younger. So, in a sense, America is already winning, and has been helping Norway to electrify for years — via Tesla.
Norway wants to become the first nation to end the sales of gasoline and diesel cars by 2025, and if America really wants to “crush” them, then we need to stop the sales of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles here. GM and the others need to completely switch to making only EVs and they aren’t going to do this. GM intends to make the switch by 2035. How is GM going to “crush” Norway when it intends to electrify 10 years later?
GM’s ad going after Norway is weirdly manipulative. Let me explain. Tesla is the leader in EV sales worldwide. This includes in Norway, China, the US, and elsewhere. GM can’t paint Tesla as anti-American, but it can go after Norway for being number one in EV adoption. Why? Because GM was trying to rile up people whose core identity is as Americans, people who feel that you are valueless unless you identify as American. It is an ad focused on tribal identity, like a competition between to sports teams (naturally).
It’s slick, I’ll give GM that. And it does get people talking about EVs, but not in a very positive way. GM is basically saying that in order for America to catch up, we need to buy GM products because GM is American-made. Just wait a little longer until it has some compelling EVs to sell.
This Ad Would Have Been Better
Arash, also known as Minimal Duck, made what I think is a better ad. It’s not better because it features Tesla — it’s better because the message of the ad is on sustainability, a better world, and true leadership, not whether or not Norway is better than America. Arash’s ad isn’t bringing that negatively toned competition that will have people talking for a few days and then move along to the next topic. It’s a deeper ad that reminds us why EVs are important.
However, negativity sells better than positivity, and when people are drinking and partying while watching football and are embracing that competitive spirit, Will Ferrell yelling and screaming about America is more easily received than a visually stunning and musically accented reason why we should all make the switch to EVs.
If America really wants to “crush” Norway’s numbers, then we have work to do, and this starts with changing our mentality from wanting to crush our competitors to fully understanding what we need to do to make that switch. Some of these things include:
- Stop giving subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
- Stop giving dealerships so much power over EV manufacturers.
- Stop making stupid laws that punish people for switching to EVs.
- Start properly educating the masses about the importance of EVs and clean energy.
Stop hyping up “Tesla killers,” and start pouring those millions spent on needless marketing into technologies that will actually help your company succeed at making a better EV.
Talk is cheap. (Although, GM may not think so after having spent a pretty penny on a Super Bowl ad with Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, and Awkwafina.) Just think of the impact if that money was spent on a mixed marketing campaign combined with social media and radio and TV commercials educating consumers about the consequences of breathing in NOx, CO2, and particulate matter — and how we can prevent that by switching to electric cars.
We shouldn’t be mad at Norway for being the country that has the highest EV adoption rate (a whopping 81% now). We should be celebrating it. Take a deep breath and imagine for a moment what it could be like to breathe in clean air instead of polluted air.
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