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Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Electrify America aims to get more drivers interested in electric cars with ‘Normal Now’ campaign

At one time, email and online dating seemed weird and a bit creepy. Now, both activities are a part of the modern landscape. That’s the concept behind Electrify America’s new campaign to get electric cars into the mainstream.

Electrify America and San-Francisco-based agency Eleven, launched a brand-neutral digital marketing campaign, ‘Normal Now,’ that aims to normalize electric car and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) ownership in the US.

Through humorous online videos, gifs and ads on platforms ranging from streaming TV to social media, the campaign compares electric vehicles with other “new technologies” of the past, such as email, cell phones and smart watches, that may have seemed weird at first but are normal now.

One spot, ‘Email,’ shows a newswoman with a big early 90s hairdo talking in dated language about how email is different from “snail mail.” In ‘Online Dating,’ a video from the 90s shows a guy talking about how you fill out a form and hopefully meet your “dream person.” Each ends with a text over about how those early online tactics seemed weird at first. A voice-over says “Electric cars. Yeah, they’re totally normal now too.”

Electrify America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, an automaker that has stated that it wants to become carbon neutral by 2050. Electrify America aims to invest $2bn over 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure, education and access.

“A large percentage of the car buying public cite functional concerns about EVs, like range anxiety, charge time and cost, as reasons why they wouldn’t drive electric; however, the ‘Normal Now’ campaign is inspired by the insight that there is actually a deeper, more emotional set of barriers standing in the way of consideration and adoption,” said Richard Steinberg, senior director of green cities, marketing and communications at Electrify America. “We believe that fear of change and lack of exposure to EVs in pop culture is making people view electric vehicles as too different from what they’re used to, and therefore are striving to normalize EVs with this latest educational campaign.”

Mike McKay, chief creative officer at Eleven, added: "Yes, people scratched their heads when the flying machine, computer, and cell phone were introduced, but soon after these advancements became woven into our everyday lives. We believe the electric car is becoming fully embraced as well, and our Normal Now campaign is a simple reminder that electric cars are here to stay."

The digital-only campaign, which includes some elements that will also be available in Spanish, is part of a $42m education and public awareness initiative. The content can be seen nationwide and on an informational website.

See the campaign by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

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