General Motors Turns On Electric Vehicles in Super Bowl Ad With Will Ferrell

Courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is readying a big Super Bowl ad to press American car consumers to make a big shift.

The giant automaker will launch a new campaign highlighting its efforts to scale up electric vehicles during CBS’ Super Bowl broadcast with a 60-second spot that taps Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson and Awkwafina. The spot, crafted by Interpublic Group’s McCann WorldGroup, is slated to appear during the first quarter of the game. Cadillac, one of GM’s top brands, is expected to show its own Super Bowl commercial, also highlighting electric cars.

The ambitious commercial has Ferrell and his co-stars attempting to push back on Norway, which far outpaces the United States in terms of electric-vehicle production. Funny things happen, but the ad has serious intent. General Motors is the biggest car manufacturer to embrace production of electric vehicles, having recently pledged to bring 30 new electric models to market globally by 2025. The company recently announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2040, and said it hoped to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.

“The big game is the perfect venue for the incomparable Will Ferrell to encourage us all to reconsider what we know about electric vehicles, and to invite ‘Everybody In’,” said Deborah Wahl, GM global chief marketing officer, in a prepared statement. “We admire his passion for EVs and share Norway’s pursuit of an all-electric future.”

General Motors has been a Super Bowl sponsor in the past. The company advertised in the game from 2002 to 2008, then again in 2011 and 2012. A tough recession and difficult corporate finances -including a bankruptcy – were behind the absence in 2009 and 2010. GM spent approximately $97.2 million on Super Bowl ads between 2003 and 2012, according to data from Kantar. Last year, the auto titan  previewed its electric GMC Hummer EV pickup with a 30-second ad starring LeBron James.

Ferrell also returns to the Super Bowl ad game — sort of. In 2012 he worked to gain some publicity for Pabst Brewing Company’s Old Milwaukee by creating ads that ran only on select local stations. Rival brewer Anheuser Busch InBev enjoys an exclusive category sponsorship of national Super Bowl inventory.

The GM spot features upcoming electric vehicles, including the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV and the GMC Hummer EV supertruck. GM will also be highlighting its Ultimum technology, which it says allows an electric vehicle to travel to an estimated 450 miles on a full charge. GM projects the chemistry will eventually help it create electric vehicles “closer to price parity” with gas-powered vehicles.