Electric vehicles light up automotive TV ads

Post-pandemic messaging in automotive TV and video ads is looking greener than ever before. From renewable-energy-sourced factories to electric vehicles, automotive brands are emphasizing environmentally conscious products and pursuits.

Thirty-two percent of all automotive ads in 2021 thus far have eco-friendly messages that stood out to viewers (based on emotional measurement from Ace Metrix Creative Assessment). This is more than double that of the same time period from the previous two years: 15% in 2020 and 17% in 2019. Granted, last year automotive brands pivoted ad creative after the pandemic started, which is likely why “green” messaging wasn’t as prevalent. 

What’s the main driver behind this rise in eco-friendly automotive messaging? Electric vehicles. TV ads promoting electric vehicles have skyrocketed in 2021 and included new entrants like Cadillac, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo:

An increased appetite for electric vehicles among consumers has automotive brands eager to chip away at Tesla’s EV market share. Volkswagen and Lucid jumped at the opportunity for national airtime during Elon Musk’s Saturday Night Live appearance on May 8th, where both brands promoted electric models. That wasn’t the only TV event where EV ads lit up automotive airtime. During Super Bowl LV, two of the three ads from automotive brands promoted EVs — one for General Motors and the other for the Cadillac Lyriq.

The following spots stand out among 2021 EV TV ads with 50M+ impressions. All insights were sourced from iSpot analytics.

Volvo XC40 Recharge “Pure Electric”

Volvo delivered an abundance of information that portrayed the company as heading in a new direction in the “Pure Electric” spot, all while viewers were entertained by arresting, cinematic close-ups of the XC40 Recharge.” The :70s version ranks as the second best-received luxury automotive ad, and the best electric luxury automotive ad of all time. Purchase Consideration of the XC40 Recharge reached a very impressive 75% (+17 above norm) among high-income viewers  intending to purchase a luxury automobile within the next year. Since its first airing on April 5th, “Pure Electric :30” has garnered 418,176,324 impressions — most of which stem from MSNBC, NBC and CNN.

Mercedes-Benz EQS “Our Way”

In a teaser for its soon-to-be-released EQS model, Mercedes-Benz touted its sports and racing cars as examples of its reputation of producing quality vehicles. Prominent branding throughout the :30s spot resulted in strong Brand Recognition with 85% of gen pop viewers identifying Mercedes-Benz (+8 above automotive norms).

Similar to Volvo’s ad, “Our Way” was seen as extremely informative and the focus on “electric” successfully communicated a change in direction for Mercedes-Benz. However, because the EQS is not yet available, high-income viewers found “Our Way” less relevant than “Pure Electric.” Mercedes-Benz still drummed up impressive consideration with 66% positive purchase intent among those intending to purchase a luxury automobile within the next year (+8 above norm). 

“Our Way” only aired from April 5th through 13th, but earned over 54,140,406 impressions with most of those occurring during the 2021 Masters Tournament. The creative effectively retained attention throughout the campaign with the iSpot Attention Index indicating it was 28% less likely to be interrupted than the average ad with similar placements. 

Volkswagen ID.4 “Tech Upgrade”

The all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 stood out as the Single Best Thing about this ad. Second-by-Second Trace shows creative resonance peaked in each scene when the visuals highlighted product features: keyless, infotainment center, and electric charging. Information and Change components were the main creative drivers behind “Tech Upgrade.” Purchase consideration among viewers who intend to purchase an automobile within the next year reached  64% (+6 above norm).

“Tech Upgrade” has 315,310,166 impressions since its first airing on March 30th with the iSpot Attention Index indicating it was 5% less likely to be interrupted than the average ad with similar placements. About one-third of those impressions came from primetime airings.

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About the Author

Sammi Scharninghausen is a Marketing Manager at iSpot.tv. She covers brand impact, TV advertising trends and industry events. For questions and inquiries, please contact marketing@ispot.tv.