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Why Dr. Evil could signal a turning point for EVs
Hype for electric vehicles dominate Super Bowl auto ads
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
In recent months, many pundits and publications — including this one — have predicted that 2022 will be a major tipping point for electric vehicle adoption.
And now, with Dr. Evil saying so during the Super Bowl, we know it’s true. The eyebrow-arching villain from the “Austin Powers” movie series — played by Mike Myers and accompanied by sidekicks Rob Lowe, Seth Green and Mindy Sterling — was the centerpiece of a minute-long General Motors (GM) ad touting its new EVs, part of campaign by the auto giant that has the aim of normalizing EVs and help Americans across the country actually see themselves in one,” according to a media briefing by GM Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl. “This is really a core part of our entire business strategy at General Motors,” she added.
GM, though, was not alone in using the football fest to hype green autos. Joining the party were BMW (BMWYY), Kia (KIMTF) and newcomer Polestar (PSNY), which all ponied up more than $6 million for 30 seconds of airtime, as well as Nissan (NSANY), which touted its Ariya electric SUV among some of its gas-powered models.
The Dr. Evil ad, in which the vertically challenged villain and his pals take over the GM headquarters in Detroit, is part of the automaker’s “Everybody In” marketing campaign, announced just over a year ago to promote its newfangled wares, which will include 30 new EVs globally by 2025. In the piece — a 90-second version of which can be seen on YouTube — the trio of cronies persuade the bald-headed bad guy to pursue a green dream to reduce global warming. It’s “arguably the No. 1 threat to the world now,’’ Green’s character intones, with Dr. Evil, of course, having held the position before.
The spot is certainly more entertaining that many of the somewhat earnest ads for EVs so far and certainly outshines the usual images of pickup trucks and SUVs plowing through snow or deserts. As to whether we will look back and think that Dr. Evil helped America turn the EV corner, we will have to wait to see if his ad effort helped them take over the world.