Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

28 May 2011

Renault ZE: An Electric Life, One We're Ready For

However much you may advocate the adoption of the electric vehicle, it's still difficult to face skeptics whose arguments often boil down to "we're not ready for that." That statement is usually supported by a number of vague "facts" that betray how little we actually know about electric cars: the little mileage you get, how they're too slow to drive on freeways, how it only makes sense if you have a house with a garage so you can plug it in...

(Actually, this last is a problem, but what if we all make like Manitoba and start changing our communities as a function of where we're headed? A plug on every street, sir!)

I like this ad because it distills all the cloudiness surrounding the electric transport quandary into one reasonable message: We've already switched to electricity for many things; why not for travel?

The ad preps you for this message by depicting everyday scenarios in which electric gadgets -- blow dryers, vending machines, credit card readers -- possess combustible engines, with all their fickleness and the pollution that comes along. The people in the ad simply live with it, the same way we live with car pollution.

That they never complain, never so much as wrinkle their noses, is part of the ad's charm: it enables you to laugh at the grace with which all that exhaust is dealt, to see the situation with clearer eyes, to accept that we've also been a bit silly about this, because it's what our society has collectively decided to accept, in the same way the ad's fictional society accepts combustible engine computers and toy dogs.

All this builds elegantly in your mind as the piece progresses. The narrator only raises her voice to drive the tagline and brand home. But the crazy thing is, you feel convinced.

UPDATE: Jeff Kwiatek sent over this variation on the ad for the Nissan Leaf, which launched on the same day:

The two companies are basically one (Renault holds something like 43% of Nissan, and the latter holds something like 15% of the former, so it's all one big mutual neck-sucking fest). It isn't unusual for companies of global scale to have a kind of "share with pride" policy on the inside, which doesn't exactly thrill their myriad agencies, but it does save them money: a good idea on one side of the world gets generously replicated elsewhere, or for a "different" brand.

I have to say though, the Leaf variant lacks the finesse of Renault ZE's "The Electric Life." Even its name fell a few points on the je-ne-sais-quoi scale: "Gas Powered Everything"? Would a little less obviousness have killed us?

(Maybe. Consider.)


Jeff said...

Not sure if you've already seen this but Nissan released a strikingly similar ad the same day this one came out.

Gas Powered Everything

But this ad proves the point better. Instead of a little quip at the end that is supposed to make you think - "What if everything ran on gas? Then again, what if it didn't?" -Renault presents a much more convincing message "you've already switched to electricity for many things. Why not for traveling?".

It still amazes me that two ads so similar could come out on the exact same day. any ideas who did the Renault one?

Angela Natividad said...

They are basically the same ad! But Nissan and Renault are the same company, so it wouldn't surprise me if they have an internal "share with pride" policy when it comes to creative.