This ad for Polestar’s Super Bowl and the electric vehicle revolution
Fringe ideas don’t get turned into Super Bowl ads. Not at $6.5 million per pop for a 30 second spot. Polestar, General Motors, Nissan and KIA have all pitched in to put their electric cars in front of what will likely be the biggest TV audience for a sporting event this year. [Nissan wasted its money on a 2-seater sports car that almost no one will buy, then slipped a 1.5 second glimpse of its new Ariya electric SUV in at the end without bothering to mention the car is battery-powered. Such cowardice is hard to explain.]
The Polestar 2 ad
Let’s talk about this Polestar 2 ad. It’s titled No compromise and only has a few words of text, such as “No dieselgate, No dirty secrets, No hidden agenda, No empty promises, No shortcuts, No conquering Mars, No blah, blah, blah , No rules, No greenwashing, No nonsense, No committees, no consensus, no compromise.
Behind the words is a black and white car beauty roll. The photography is beautiful – soft and flowing – and depicts a car that almost anyone would find appealing. It’s only at the very end that the company mentions that the Polestar 2 is 100% electric.
It’s a long list of things the company claims it didn’t do when developing the Polestar 2. No committee, no consensus and no compromise? Oh good? Do they want us to believe that CEO Thomas Inglerath just showed up for work one day with the car sketch sketched on the back of an envelope and said, “Build this?” Thankfully, the ad didn’t say “No hyperbole”, because the idea that any car today could reach production without committees, consensus and compromise is just ridiculous. If you want people to believe what you say, better not make them believe that they are being lied to.
A sales professional knows that hitting the competition is bad selling. Taking shots at Volkswagen for its diesel cheating scandal is low-rent behavior, if for no other reason than we know every manufacturer that has sold cars in the European market in the past 20 years has been involved in the skating up to and sometimes beyond the property when it came to complying with EU regulations. It’s not like Volvo never sold diesel-powered cars either.
The swipe at Elon Musk is just stupid. SpaceX and Tesla may have a common majority owner, but belittling Musk for being one of the most dynamic and creative business leaders of this century — however boring — is just a waste of time. money, especially when it costs $216,666 per second to say it.
Those other veiled references to dirty secrets, hidden agendas, or empty promises might be oil industry digs, legacy automakers who think they can get away with making compliant cars, or maybe Tesla. again with his self-driving car mania.
Negative sales and backfire
Let me tell you a story about negative sales tactics. Thirty years ago, I was a sales clerk in a Saturn store. One day a young couple walked in and announced that they had just come from the Dodge dealership down the street where they had been looking at a new Neon. They said the salesman told them that Saturns had gas tanks that tended to rupture and explode in crashes. They were a little belligerent and asked me how I could represent such a dangerous and defective product in good conscience.
Well, I’m nobody’s idiot. I asked if they had a few minutes to find out a bit more about the Saturn car. Their hostility was palpable but they followed me to the service area where one of our technicians had a car on a lift. I pointed out how the gas tank was mounted in front of the rear wheels in the footprint of the high-strength safety cell that surrounded the cabin. I then pointed out that the tank itself was a blow molded item similar to gas tanks used in race cars for safety reasons. With that, I picked up a hammer from the workbench and gave the tank a good thump.
Nothing happened. The hammer bounced off the tank without leaving a mark. I asked the couple what they thought would happen if someone did the same thing to a Neon’s gas tank. Their eyes told me that I had said enough. We went back to the saleroom and they asked if I had time to take them for a test drive. An hour later, they drove home in a brand new Saturn SL2 sedan.
But that’s not the end of the story. The man’s brother came a week later and bought me a car. A week later, the woman’s father also bought me a car. In 3 months, I sold 7 cars to their friends and family, and all because a poorly trained Dodge salesman said bad things about my product. I may not know everything about sales, but I know enough to realize that Polestar is playing a very dangerous game with this kind of “slam the opposition” advertising.
Negative Ads Help Tesla
Data makes the world go round these days, and there’s a mountain of data available from the Super Bowl broadcast. Here’s a tweet that shows how many searches for “Tesla” took place during those electric car ads last night. 4 ads, $6.5 million each, for a total of $26 million. And look how internet searches for “Tesla” skyrocketed the moment these ads ran! Tesla got $26 million in free publicity and didn’t have to lift a finger to do it.
Yeah. These ads definitely help Tesla. pic.twitter.com/w3oRPF0Juu
-Randy (@Randy070707) February 14, 2022
Elon himself said“Companies spend money on advertising and manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product. I trust people. You’re right, Elon.
Thomas Inglerath made a statement about this Super Bowl commercial in which he said, “The Super Bowl is an iconic event and I am thrilled to bring Polestar’s message to such a wide audience. We are a young and ambitious brand. We believe in “no compromise”, for our design language, our sustainability efforts and the performance of our cars, and we wanted to share that philosophy with this ad. This is the perfect place to increase our brand awareness in the United States and beyond. And the conscience of its competitors too, apparently. Well done Thomas. Good game. Or not.
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