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A case against "Gallons of Light"?

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by deonb, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Study from University of Pennsylvania:

    Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/04/26/1218453110.full.pdf?with-ds=yes

    Or alternatively, you can read a reporter's summary of it here:

    To fight climate change, don't mention it, study suggests
    To fight climate change, don't mention it, study suggests - Science


    The crux is basically - don't mention the environmental benefits of energy efficiency. If you market to a liberal crowd, they would already spontaneously associate the two. If you market to a conservative crowd, you will actively dissuade them.

    As much as I like The Gallons of Light ad, it runs the risk of being too environmental (by showing oil rigs etc.). So it may not actually be the best marketing message for Tesla.

    For the most part Tesla is creating an image of making stunning cars that just happen to be electrical - rather than environmental preservation devices that happen to be cars (cough... cough... Leaf). Stressing the environmental message too much could undo all that.
     
  2. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    Very interesting, and from Elon's alma mater, no less.

    Tesla has always instinctively gone in this direction, downplaying the environmental benefits of the car in favor of selling it as a better overall car than others similarly priced. They also focus the supercharger network as much on the "free" part as on the fact that it's solar powered. The Gallons of Light team could fairly easily tweak the voiceover and visuals to demonstrate the "free" aspects of the superchargers as much as the environmental benefits. I am pretty sure that if/when Tesla ever actually does an ad campaign itself it will focus much more on the "cool" aspects of the car instead of the environmental benefits. That will be entirely consistent with their actions to date.
     
  3. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    If you want to appeal to the conservative crowd, you talk about energy independence, getting off foreign oil, and national security. Then about jobs, financial savings of electricity vs. gas and engine maintenance, etc.

    But yes, if you want to divide the crowd fast, just mention this as a global warming savior, reduced CO2, etc... and you risk kissing half your potential buyers away. It's best to be neutral and let each side find what appeals to them.

    But everybody loves the quietness, the performance, it's looks, it's functionality!

    When you talk about *all* of the selling points, then you feel even better about the things you do connect with (for both sides), kind of like a charity thing. I.e. you're buying for the reasons you care about most, and the other goodies are just gravy too.

    Edit: There really is something in this car that truly appeals to everyone... It's about as perfect of a car as there can be.
     
  4. GlennAlanBerry

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    It is very sad that the "Sarah Palin/Tea Party crowd" automatically gets very hostile if there is any mention of environmental benefits from PHEV or BEVs, but I think that is the case for most of them. Just read the online comments for any story that talks about Tesla, the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf, etc., and you will hear the Fox News talking points rattled off pretty much every time. If you want to drive your old Ford Excursion everywhere and get 8 MPG, nobody is going to stop you...
     
  5. GeekGirls

    GeekGirls Kid in Candy Store

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    Agreed! There's significant downside to putting yourself squarely into a category that is under attack. Build the Tesla brand by focusing on your phenomenal product, and let someone else worry about the EV struggle. The car has so much going for it already. Great looks, amazing performance, convenience for day-to-day use, and mechanical simplicity are already compelling selling points.
     
  6. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Except that Tesla's goal is to speed up the worldwide adoption of EV's.
     
  7. GlennAlanBerry

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    I think Elon's stated aim is to make a car that is so much better than other available cars that it will become a compelling choice. The environmental and societal benefits will occur as EV adoption goes up over time. As battery technology continues to improve and the cost of a Gen III Tesla is significantly lower, I think you will see a gradual tipping point towards EVs, especially as the SC network is built out over the next few years. The early adopters are helping to keep Tesla alive while this happens. Doing your duty with "Tesla Time", and educating people is an important part of the picture.
     
  8. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #8 ChadS, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
    I think the "Gallons of Light" commercial is very well put together, and there are a lot of people that it will appeal to. I really hate to discourage the people that worked on it. I like Arnold's idea of changing the voiceover. Or perhaps make sure the audience is friendly - rather than show it during a random Hulu show, show it during a Sierra Club presentation, or something like that.

    But, yeah - I don't think it (or anything that focuses on an environmental message) is going to move many cars. People either already agree with it, or are actively turned off by it. It goes deeper than just different mindsets about whether we should try to be friendly to the environment or not, and more in to perceptions of how a car is made green. Due to the history of "green" gas cars, everybody - even environmentalists that love green cars - think of green cars as smaller, slower, and less fun to drive - and that they should be cheap. Selling an expensive green car is a tough proposition. Plus, the environmental aspect is very complicated, and therefore an easy target for FUD. Even environmentalists are wary (it took us a long time to get some of the big enviros on board!) And enemies have plenty of places to raise doubts. With such a complicated topic, nobody is going to do the research to figure out the truth on their own (well, I did, but I am not an average consumer) so it just comes down to which sound bites people choose to believe.

    HERE is a piece I wrote on the difficulties of selling "green" just over a year ago. I think EVs should be marketed primarily on how nice they are to drive. Interested consumers should then be told about the convenience and cost savings (don't lead with convenience because they won't believe it until they are interested in the car; and don't lead with cost savings because that reinforces perceptions that the car is not that great).

    Want to sell more electric cars? Give people a ride in one. That is the only way to move them past their misperceptions.
     
  9. TD1

    TD1 Member

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    Have to agree with the most here.
    In general making a Consumer product a Political thing will offend 50% of the population.
    Someone should make some Conservative oriented Tesla Add.
    I think that could have a incredible impact on the public perception of Tesla.
     
  10. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    To be clear, Elon never shies away from his feelings about global warming and CO2 -- his standard line is that we're running vast experiment with our atmosphere, which is incredibly dubious because even if there's only a 10% chance of climate change causing catastrophic problems with the Earth, we have no fallback because we only have one climate.

    That said, when he talks about Tesla he focuses not on saving the planet or reducing CO2 (although he can and does talk about it, and it's all over the website), but on the driving experience, sales experience, simplicity of ownership etc., because that's what's going to sell cars. There is a small group of people interested in Tesla because it is an EV -- they've already found Tesla, by and large. To sell 20k+ cars per year every year (plus Model X, Gen III etc.), they need to appeal to people who don't mind an EV but don't want to deal with range anxiety, crappy performance, or other compromises in their car-owning experience. Anyone with enough money and a commitment to environmental issues is probably already on board with Tesla -- what makes the Model S so great is that my friends who 100% believe that global warming is a massive hoax are 100% jealous of my car and want one for themselves. That's quite a feat!
     
  11. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Gallons of Light is a great piece because it engages emotions. It creates a feeling about the car that is really powerful. But it primarily engages the emotions of those with a bent toward leaving a smaller environmental footprint. Thus, as you say, it's just one audience and may turn off others. But, put together a piece that emphasizes engineering and power and you will engage a different audience. This is why marketers segment their audience and use multiple messages. Tesla has captured the "in the know" crowd. Some may not buy it because it's too expensive, too big or whatever but they're aware of the car.

    So, time to go after the next slice of the bell curve ... it's an iterative process with refined messages each step of the way. Some folks will hate what they think buying a Tesla stands for and they will never be converted. Who cares? Try to make a product (or marketing message) that speaks to everybody and it will speak to nobody. I think Tesla has already established their broad message and method ... it's proving the superiority of an electric drivetrain in the driving experience, mitigating the negatives by placing superchargers for road trips and offsetting the higher costs by talking about TCO. The hard part is turning the cerebral discussion (which, frankly, I respond to) into an emotional one ... because that's what engages the larger car buying population.

    ------------

    So, Arnold pretty much said what I did while I was composing ... great minds? :wink:
     
  12. Soflason

    Soflason Member

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    I agree that the beautiful 'Gallons of Light' ad engages emotions, feeling, and delivers a very powerful message -- but, it should be placed only in media that would respond to that message.

    On the other hand, most brand ad campaigns have multiple creative executions to appeal to different market segments in different media outlets (as you've noted - I added in bold, see above). In my opinion, in the ad creator Jordan Bloch's talented hands (see past work with Adidas, British Airways, Absolut, etc):
    Portfolio | Jordan Bloch

    ... he could easily produce targeted creative executions to appeal to each crowd very effectively. Each execution would have different messaging with different media (and different audiences).

    The passion in his work really shines through... just wish Tesla gave Jordan the nod, and the budget, to create a comprehensive ad campaign (with multiple executions) so we could see the breadth of his vision for the brand.
     
  13. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    I agree that if you go to the market trying to sell a car only because it has no CO2 emissions you are a loser.
    That's why Tesla claims Model S to be not only the best EV but the best car in the world in absolute. But I must say that for Model S to be the best car in the world some options are needed soon (power folding mirrors, parking sensors, AWD, ACC).
     
  14. orangesolar

    orangesolar Member

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    They did add some of these options already check out the config tool

    Gesendet von meinem GT-I9505 mit Tapatalk 2
     
  15. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    In the EU version, yes. Hopefully they'll add those to the US version soon, too!
     
  16. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    I love the Gallons Of Light ad.

    The most important message to get across to the masses about EV's is one that get's them over the range anxiety hump. It's STILL about the batteries. Price and range. Folks automatically assume that even a 200 mile car wont work for them. If you can afford an EV and drive one; I think the majority of people (excluding the knee jerk anti EV types) will see that they are just better in many ways. Particularly the Model S.

    By far the number one negative I hear (not exactly a scientific survey) is range. So many people write the car off when they hear the range. There has to be an effective way to convince people what most of us already know: the range works.
     
  17. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member

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    Gallons of Light is more about range than environment. The road trip is a subtle reminder that the car can go almost anywhere
     
  18. GlennAlanBerry

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    Tesla needs to build out the SC network to help stop the "long road trip" objection. Even though most people don't take long road trips that often, it seems to be the number one issue for a lot of people. I sure would like to see Tesla actually roll-out some new SC locations, somewhere, anywhere, just to prove that the build out is moving forward.
     
  19. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I absolutely agree that range is the number one issue that people have. And that it shouldn't be.

    The problem is that it's hard to address directly with a newbie. HERE is an attempt of mine to explain the problem - as you can see by the length, it's not an easy concept to get across to a newbie. Even many friends that know my wife and I have been driving electric for years still don't think it will work them - even though they have multiple cars and only very rarely go over 60 miles a day. Superchargers everywhere will help a little; but then people will simply shift to complaining about how they don't have time to wait around for a charge, even at a Supercharger.

    In my experience, much of the reason that it is so difficult to convince people that range is not that big of an issue is that they are arguing about it because they don't want an EV and are holding on to that as an excuse for not buying one. Convincing them is much easier after you've given them a ride and they can see that it's a really nice car - then they will listen, rather than argue. Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work with broadcast media. But you can approach it by showing people having fun driving the cars rather than talking intellectually about their benefits, or how to live with their downsides.
     
  20. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    I've had to deal with this a lot the last 6 months I've had my car. I've gotten it down to a science now. When someone asks me, "What happens when you run out of charge?" My response is, "What happens when you run out of gas?" They say either, "Oh, I get it!" or "Well, there are gas stations everywhere and I just fill up", to which I can reply, "There are thousands of chargers everywhere (check out my apps -- Chargepoint PlugShare etc.), and Superchargers are coming shortly across the country that will allow for long distance trips."

    I also use a line from "Who Killed the Electric Car?", which is that I treat my car like my cellphone -- I drive it all day without thinking about range, plug it in when I get home at night, and it's ready to go again in the morning. After awhile, you don't have to think about range during your day to day driving. Obviously this isn't necessarily the case with a Leaf as compared to a Model S, but you can develop new routines (charging at work, for example) that allow you to use a daily driver even if you don't have 200+ miles of range on an EV.
     

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