General Motors to run two Super Bowl ads pushing electric vehicles
General Motors will push its electric vehicle ambitions with two Super Bowl ads—one for Cadillac and another corporate spot that continues its approach of pushing EVs for the masses.
The 60-second Cadillac ad is from Leo Burnett and will plug the Lyriq, a crossover that marks the luxury brand’s first electric vehicle that is expected to hit dealers in the first half of 2022. The 60-second corporate spot is from McCann Worldgroup and will continue the automaker’s “Everybody In” campaign that debuted in early January, aiming to raise awareness for electric vehicles by plugging them as fun, clean and safe, while pushing GM’s proprietary Ultium battery platform. GM has said it would invest $27 billion toward electric and autonomous vehicle development and launch 30 EVs through 2025.
Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl in an interview declined to share creative details for the ads. The corporate spot is expected to include Will Ferrell. (The Wall Street Journal first reported the actor's inclusion). The Cadillac ad seems to be poised to have some sort of Edward Scissorhands theme, based on a scene of the ad shared by the automaker (above) that sparked speculation that it resembles a fictional neighborhood shown in the 1990 movie.
“This year’s spot will surprise and delight audiences by transporting an iconic piece of pop-culture history into the future and will feature Lyriq, Cadillac’s first, all-electric vehicle as well as Super Cruise, the industry’s first true hands-free driver assistance feature for enabled roads,” Cadillac CMO Mellisa Grady said in a statement.
Wahl positioned the spots as continuing the automaker’s messaging that it launched at CES that EVs are for everyone, no matter the income level or lifestyle.
“I believe that message has to be reinforced and there is no bigger stage than the Super Bowl to do that,” Wahl says. “We really want to make sure a wide group of people understand what EVs can bring.”
GM is only the second automaker to publicly confirm its Super Bowl plans, following Toyota. Hyundai, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Ford are among the brands that have said they have no plans to run ads in the game. Kia and Jeep owner Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) have not commented on their plans. (Online auto retailer Vroom is also running an ad, which it released on Jan. 12.)
But barring any last-minute surprises, the auto category seems set for an unusually low presence in the game. In the 2020 Super Bowl, six automakers consumed a total of seven minutes and 30 seconds of airtime, spending an estimated $77 million on media buys—more than any other category, according to Kantar. The category’s recent high-water mark came in 2018, when 11 auto brands ran ads.
Citing COVID, Wahl acknowledged that “this has been a more challenging year to actually produce new content.” GM, she said, shot its Super Bowl ads in greater Los Angeles and was fortunate to finish the shoots prior to early January, when the rising COVID caseload in Los Angeles promoted industry warnings about continuing ad shoots. “We were talking to other brands to understand how everyone is and how they are doing on content, and I know it was a scramble for many,” Wahl says.
During its ad shoots, GM mandated daily COVID testing, minimized the number of people on set and was “relentless about masks and distancing,” Wahl says. “Everything was done to protect the talent, protect the teams that were working on it, [and] keep everyone either separated physically or virtually,” she says.