When EV detractors point out that many of the 22 plug-in models now on sale in the US are selling in minuscule numbers, EVangelists retort that the makers of these unloved vehicles have done little or no advertising to promote them. It’s probably no coincidence that Nissan, the builder of the best-selling LEAF, is one of the few companies that has devoted some substantial ad dollars to promoting its EV.
As the LEAF begins to turn a profit after 22 months of increasing sales, Nissan has launched two new ad campaigns – on TV, it’s exhorting car buyers to “Kick Gas,” while online, it’s promoting the EV as the “world’s cleanest car.”
According to iSpot, Nissan has spent $22 million (about 5% of its total TV ad budget) on TV ads for the LEAF so far this year, and has dedicated an additional $9 million to its new Kick Gas campaign, which started airing in early November.
Kick Gas has been airing mainly on NBC, CBS and Fox, and seems to be most popular with viewers of college football, Gladiator and The Rachel Maddow Show. Nissan is pleased with the results, saying that the new ads helped increase LEAF sales in November.
Chevy’s efforts on behalf of the Volt have been more modest – iSpot estimates that GM has spent around $2 million on TV ads for the Volt over the past couple of years, though it has 62 different online Volt ads.
Kia has entered the market with guns blazing – according to iSpot, it has already spent about $15 million on TV ads for the Soul EV, which only went on sale in the US in October, and is not yet available in all states.