Electrify America—a unit of Volkswagen Group of America overseeing a multi-year electric-vehicle awareness campaign—is attempting to normalize electric vehicles (EVs) by drawing comparisons to the earliest days of the internet, cell phones and online dating.
A nostalgia-laden digital campaign, called “Normal Now,” launched today. It draws parallels between EVs and new technologies of the past that once seemed niche but are now commonplace. The effort is part of a new $42 million education and public awareness initiative.
Electrify America was formed in 2016 as a wholly owned subsidiary of VW overseeing a 10-year, $2 billion investment on zero-emissions vehicle technology and awareness. The spending is mandated as part of the automaker's legal settlement with government regulators in the wake of VW's diesel scandal in which it admitted to installing devices on cars to cheat on emissions tests. In March, the organization hired San Francisco-based Eleven to handle its campaign, which must be brand-agnostic according to the terms of the legal settlement.
The new campaign includes a website and videos that harken back to the earliest days of the internet. Visitors of normalnow.com will see a homepage that seems ripped out of the late 1990s, complete with a crude visitor counter.
“Remember when websites used to look like this? New technology always seems weird at first,” the site states. “Take electric cars. They may seem a little different. But with faster recharging times, longer vehicle ranges, and lots of models to choose from, they' re just like driving a typical gas-powered car.” The site then presses its case with other, more-modern looking web pages that attempt to take on perceptions that EVs are only for the “elite few,” or look like “tiny, glorified golf carts.” Today, “most EVs look just like normal cars,” the site states.
The campaign also includes digital videos that resurface old media clips of people talking about the internet and online dating, when both were in their infancy.