The Super Bowl is the biggest advertising opportunity of the year. It always produces ads that make watchers laugh, cry, or think about buying a new vehicle, and brands pay huge sums of money to make that happen. This year, GM is taking the opportunity to announce a new line of Electric Vehicles. The announcement is in keeping with automotive ad trends, and the ad itself is a wild, comedic ride, starring Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, and Awkwafina. It’s worth a watch.

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This theme is in line with where the industry is going. More automotive brands are pivoting to the production and sale of electric vehicles. So in light of the Super Bowl hype, we took a look at Electric Vehicle advertising trends, and the GM advertising strategy around electric vehicles to date.

Automotive Ad Trends and Electric Vehicles

Using a transcription search for the terms “Electric,” and “Electric Vehicle,” and "EVs," we found that in the past year (January 1, 2020 – present) there have been 112,695 tier one and two automotive ad airings about electric vehicles. This represents only 1% of all automotive airings for the last year, but based on the monthly trends from 2020 and the industry’s commitment to EV production, this percentage should continue to rise.

Automotive Ad Trends for EV airings by month

The top advertiser for the same time period (1/1/20 – present) is GM brand Chevrolet with 44,900 airings of electric vehicle-related ads. This represents 40% of all electric vehicle ad airings from all automotive advertisers in tiers one and two. In 2021 specifically, Chevrolet has been the only GM brand so far to advertise for its offering of electric vehicles. Based on our transcription data, Chevrolet airings have accounted for about 6% of all GM advertising.  That said, in the GM Super Bowl ad, Will Ferrell tries to take an electric Cadillac to Norway (and Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson take the new electric Hummer) so this trend might start shifting once these vehicles hit the market.

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Year to date, GM brands are still largely advertising gas-powered models. The top advertised models for 2021 so far are the Chevy Silverado with 24,070 airings, The Chevy Equinox with 24,000 airings, and the Buick encore with 23,900 airings. We will be watching GM advertising and how it shifts when new electric models start rolling onto the market.

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