Watch how Chevy is using Disney magic to put a charge into its electric vehicles
Chevrolet is hoping some Disney magic will propel its new electric vehicles into the mainstream.
In January, the General Motors brand teased that it was teaming with Disney to reveal its new Chevrolet Bolt electric utility vehicle, the first Chevy to offer hands-free driver assistance system “Super Cruise,” and the 2022 redesigned Bolt EV as part of the automaker’s ambitious electric vehicle push. Now, the automaker is revealing the first content from the partnership—and there’s plenty of familiar Disney touches.
A 90-second spot called “Magic is Electric” promotes the two vehicles ahead of their availability this summer. Set against Bob Marley’s “Sun is Shining,” we see families driving in white and red Bolt EUVs. For part of the way one of the cars drives itself towards Walt Disney World, reopened in July after shutting down due to the pandemic. On their way, they encounter both classic and newer characters from Disney World attractions that highlight the size, technology and performance of the new vehicle. Tinker Bell helps illuminate the streetlights as the car passes with its signature lighting, one family picks up ghost hitchhikers from the Haunted Mansion ride seen in the car’s HD rear camera mirror, one car whizzes alongside a Star Wars X-wing Fighter on Super Cruise and Dumbo can be seen flying above one of the car’s sunroof, a new feature in a Chevy Bolt EV.
The voiceover states: “When you can’t wait for the journey to begin, when your imagination runs wild, when we share in an adventure, when we dream together, magic happens…Magic is electric.”
The spot, shot partially on location at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot in Florida, will roll out across Disney-owned properties starting tonight during the season premiere of ABC’s “American Idol.” The Bolt EUV will also be featured during SportCenter’s “Magical Moment” segments from Feb. 15-19 on ESPN. The commercial will be broken into snippets for Chevy’s social media channels, digital platforms, charging station digital billboards and Chevrolet.com.
Steve Majoros, VP of Chevrolet marketing, says the brand wanted to partner with Disney because it aims to create some of the same “magic moments” for which Disney and Walt Disney World are known.
“Those magic moments are so engrained in people’s minds and memories,” he says. “You think of owning a vehicle and the first time you drive or magic moments like seeing your kids sleep in the back. We’re very fortunate we both live in categories where people have this emotional resonance and connection.”
Chevy is also releasing a 14-minute film called “Behind the Magic” that takes viewers behind the making of the commercial while also providing more information about the vehicle features and reactions from current Bolt EV owners. For the film, Chevy tapped TikTok influencer Nick Cho, known as @yourkoreandad on TikTok where he has 2.2 million followers, to act as MC. Chevy is sharing the film at www.chevy.com/ev and across its digital channels.
The spot and the behind-the-scenes film were created through Disney’s in-house creative agency Corporate Alliances with support from the brand’s agency partners—McCann’s Commonwealth, Weber Shandwick, Mocean and Carat.
“We tried to find that marriage between that Walt Disney World diverse IP together with reaching out to the broader audience [Chevy] were looking to reach,” says Tiffany Rende, senior VP Corporate Alliances at Disney.
For Chevy, it was important that the car features came across in the spot in subtle ways that current Bolt customers could pick up on. For instance, the Chevy Bolt EUV is six inches longer than the Bolt EV. That comes across in the sequence where the family picks up the hitchhiking ghosts and the woman in the backseat sits back and crosses her legs.
“Those are signals that the general public might not pick up on, but those that know our product will say ‘wow, that’s appreciatively bigger,’” Majoros says. He adds that Disney was very sensitive to Chevy’s business needs and storytelling. “There’s the expression ‘clients get the creative they desire,’ he says. “If you effectively brief and are concise and prioritize, and let the process takeover. You get magic.”
Making sure the spot included a diverse cast was also top of mind, he says. “I know DEI is of increasing coconscious, but it has always been important to Chevrolet. We wanted to make sure that was representative in our casting. People want to feel not just invited to the party, but an active participant.”
Aligning its electric vehicles with the Disney universe is a strategic way to reshape the narrative around EVs to prove to consumers that the cars can be suitable and affordable for the average consumer, says Majoros. “If you walk the streets of a Disney theme park, you’re going to see all walks of life, all sorts of people—families young, old it doesn’t matter,” he says. That’s how we feel about Chevy too.”
EVs currently make up only about 2% of the overall industry and for that to grow, he says EVs have to be able to meet customer needs across size, range, technology and cost. “We think EV and EUV can do that,” he says. The Bolt EV is priced from $31,995 and the Bolt EUV starts at $33,995.
Majoros adds that EVs have typically been portrayed in marketing as “quirky” or as “science projects,” and this marketing breaks from that mold. While he wouldn’t comment on the cost of the partnership, he says that Chevrolet is “disproportionally” placing more money into its marketing than what it’s currently seeing in sales because the company sees the long-term potential and a "collective responsibility." Recently, GM featured Will Ferrell in three videos teasing its corporate Super Bowl ad that raised awareness for electric vehicles (GM aims to stop selling gas vehicles by 2035).
“EVs are not quirky science projects for a select few, they’re a big part of how the future of mobility will be in the business and Chevrolet wants to be a big part of that,” he says.
Chevy has a long history with Disney, which began in the 1940s when General Motors commissioned Walt Disney and his studio to create an animated training film. In 1982, General Motors became the first attraction sponsor for Epcot’s grand opening and the "World of Motion" attraction presented by General Motors, which ran until 1996. The "Test Track" attraction presented by General Motors ran from 1999 to 2012; it now carries the Chevy name.
The automaker will also reveal the new Bolt EV and EUV on its new digital showroom Chevy MyWay at chevrolet.com/myway starting tonight at 5 p.m. ET. Majoros says that the digital showroom was created about a month ago in response to the coronavirus and operates as a digital resource for customers to get live tours of cars and their questions answered from Chevy product specialists.
“For all the badness that happened with COVID, there’s been a lot of goodness,” he says. “Traditionally, this would have been a physical reveal in a physical location where it could have been limited to those who would have been there. Now, we can reveal to hundreds of thousands, millions, whoever.”