Just two weeks after making its official debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, General Motors’ second-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been given its first TV ad.
Unveiled yesterday on YouTube, the sixty-second ad is straight-forward, almost businesslike in its delivery, and focuses all of the viewer’s attention on the Volt’s stylish new grille, its lower, sportier look, and the promise of the open road.
It starts by showing a trendy hip thirty-something wearing designer glasses, a fitness band and tidy facial hair sit down with an apple iPad. He touches the screen and swipes to unlock the device. And he hits play on a video cued up for watching: a video showing action shots of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, accompanied by an upbeat techno beat with plenty of string pads, a simple synth drum track and of course, arpeggiated chords.
There’s not a weird alien, polar bear, dancer or confused news anchor in sight.
In fact, save for a few computer-generated frames showing the Volt’s 18.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and 1.4-litre range-extending gasoline engine, there’s not a single overt mention of the fact that what you’re seeing is a plug-in car. Much less that it’s a plug-in car with an expected range of 50 miles per charge, and an range-extending gas mileage of 41 mpg.
But watch the advert a few times and you’ll start to notice that there are subtle, almost subliminal messages embedded throughout the ad telling you that what you’re seeing isn’t another ordinary car. From the lingering sweeping shot that takes in the Volt’s name badge and its trademark ‘lightning bolt V’ through to the interior shots which clearly show information screens relating to power flow and charging, the clues are there if you know where to look.
Matching the fast-paced music, the shots change frequently, showing the Volt in a variety of different situations from inner city travel to the open road. Meanwhile a hand — presumably belonging to the hipster we saw at the start of the ad — interacts with the scenery we see the car driving through, turning a straight boring road into the undulating, gentle curves of the fabled open road.
It’s a message with two meanings.
Firstly, it portrays the Volt as the trendy, logical vehicle for an app-loving, gadget-savvy Gen X or Millennial who wants to have a bit of fun while saving the planet too.
Second, it more subtly reprises one of the Volt’s first ever marketing points: that the Volt can operate like a regular gasoline car when its electric battery pack is depleted. Or rather, that it can go wherever your whim wants it. As long as there’s a road, of course.
Overall, we’re impressed with this new ad, and we think it marks a new chapter for GM and the Volt. Instead of trying to make excuses or portray the Volt as unique or different, this ad emphasises the 2016 Volt’s everyday appearance and high-spec interior.
The plug? That’s just an added bonus.
Do you agree? Do you like the subtleties of the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt ad? Or do you think it doesn’t do enough to emphasise the benefits of plugging in?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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