2016 Chevy Volt ads strike frustrating, yet familiar, chord

We've Seen This Sort Of Backwards Messaging Before, GM

Sometimes, it's hard to let go. In the six years that GM has been advertising and selling the Chevy Volt, one dominant message is that the car is an EV without any range anxiety. On the one hand, this is a positive thing: our car does something that other electric vehicles don't. Of course, there's another, more reasonable take on the message that EVs only equal limited range: don't promote this viewpoint if you ever plan on selling a pure EV.

But, of course, this is exactly what GM is doing with a new ad for the 2016 Chevy Volt. Called Elevator, the spot (watch it above) compares driving an all-electric car with riding in an elevator getting stuck. Your Nissan Leaf might run out of electricity, the ad says, and that would be as uncomfortable as being trapped between floors. The main problem, of course, is that Chevy also offers the Spark EV and is getting ready to sell the Bolt EV. Does the company think that everyone will forget these anti-EV commercials when it come time to shop for a Bolt? Even worse, does GM think we've forgotten the Anthem ad for the Volt back in 2010? Apparently, so.

Elevator isn't the only ad for the 2016 Volt that GM debuted today. The other, called Time Capsule (below), takes a swipe at the Toyota Prius. Trouble is, there are two easy ways to dismiss this ad as well. First, and most obviously, if GM is against using old technology, then why does it continue to shove a 100-year-old fossil fuel engine into almost every car it builds? Second, attacking the Prius for using 15-year-old tech – when said tech is still able to mop the floor with any hybrid from GM in the fuel economy race - is more like an admission of defeat than anything to be proud of. "Hey look, the Prius uses technology from the '90s," GM says. To which the observant viewer will ask, "Well, then why can't you build a 50-mile-per-gallon hybrid, GM?"

It's also worth noting that Chevy has been on a misguided advertising streak as of late. We bashed their ads that suggested its Silverado is better than the F-150 because it uses steel instead of aluminum, too, especially since those commercials used shark cages and stupid superhero costumes in an attempt to make a point. Chevy, stop assuming we're all idiots. Please.

Now, the 2016 Volt is a great car and I know that GM can make a darn good Volt ad ( like this one), so seeing the company shoot solid fuel-efficient technologies in the back ( again and again) is just frustrating. For people who have wanted GM to take EVs seriously since the EV1 days, this has got to be a painful case of déjà vu.

The points I've outlined here are exactly what I told the GM representatives at the Volt launch in California this week when GM debuted the spots. They listened, but the decision has obviously been made to move forward with these messages. Now that the ads are online, I figured it was time to see what our readers think of them. Good? Bad? Other? Have your say in the Comments.

Chevrolet Volt Information

Chevrolet Volt

Share This Photo X