In 2021, car manufacturers focused on promoting electric vehicles, transforming their marketing strategies, with a prominent focus on outdoor advertising.
The year 2021 marked a milestone in the automotive industry: car manufacturers decidedly launched themselves into the promotion of their electric vehicles, transforming their marketing strategies and significantly increasing their investment in advertising. This change in focus was especially evident in outdoor advertising, a powerful tool for reaching a broader and more diverse audience.
In a report by marketing analytics company EDO Inc, it was revealed that automakers ran four times as many television ads for electric cars and plug-in hybrids in 2021 than in the previous two years combined. This phenomenon spread mainly in the United States, where automotive giants such as General Motors, Ford and the Volkswagen Group invested around 248 million dollars in the broadcast of almost 33,000 advertisements. This figure represented almost three times more than the $83 million invested in 2019, when approximately 8,000 electric vehicle ads aired on television.
This increase in electric car advertising coincided with growing awareness of the need to reduce emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Semiconductor shortages and supply chain issues also played a role in the rapid shift toward promoting electric vehicles.
Not only did advertising investments and the number of ads increase, but brands also adapted their communication strategies. Many manufacturers announced additional investments and resources for the production of electric vehicles, along with defining deadlines for stopping production of combustion engine cars. This attracted a new type of buyer and required a different marketing strategy.
Electric vehicle advertising focused on educating consumers about electric technology and its benefits. Instead of assuming that people knew about this technology, they went out of their way to teach it. Unique features of electric vehicles, such as front trunks and two-way charging, were highlighted in advertising to attract buyers.
Deborah Wahl, director of marketing at General Motors, stated that the goal was not just advertising, but creating a movement. Marketing strategies were divided into three stages: normalize, personalize and captivate. Consumers responded positively, and electric vehicle ads surpassed traditional vehicle ads in online information searches.
Outdoor advertising became a key tool in this new era of electric vehicles. Automakers used billboards, bus stop ads, and other forms of outdoor advertising to highlight the features and benefits of their electric vehicles. As the electric vehicle market matures, marketing strategies will likely continue to evolve to highlight aspects beyond electric propulsion, but the focus on awareness and education will remain critical.
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