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Car Advertising Finally Goes Electric

Industry giants have started making EVs en masse; now they have to figure out how to sell them. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations As City Council Signs Off For Funding
Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg

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If you watched NBC’s Sunday Night Football in the fall, you might have seen a Hyundai ad called “Gas Card.” It goes like this: a dad gives his daughter a gas station gift card; she never uses it because she drives a plug-in hybrid Tucson from Hyundai; she gives the card back to him on his birthday. The style, as with the other spots in Hyundai’s campaign for its new electrified SUVs, will be familiar to any regular viewer of American television: A bit of light humor unfolds in some sunny place where yards are well-manicured, traffic is light, and neighbors are friendly.

“We want it to feel like it’s part of our brand,” says Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America. “We’re trying to grab a little bit of their heart or their funny bone.”