While world leaders grappled with the complex challenges of climate change at COP26 (even the concept of escorting visiting leaders to the conference in electric vehciles broke down due to lack of charging points) it seems nothing will prevent the acceleration towards an EV future.

Newbie Rivian has only just got the assembly line rolling and is already targeting a $53bn valuation in its IPO making it instantly more valuable than Nissan or Kia. Meanwhile, BMW, Volkswagen, and Volvo are all aiming to be majority EV producers before the decade is out.


Elsewhere, Toyota has just released the bZX4 – its first full step into the EV future as part of its strategy to be selling 8 million EVs by 2030. And the European Commission is targeting a complete reduction in CO2 from cars and vans by 2035. That’s not far away. 

While Elon Musk’s Tesla has set the bar high for the industry, they’ve managed to become one of the major carmakers in the world without spending a cent on ads in the last few years. So they don’t figure in our selection (well, they do in a way…) of some of the best and oddest electric vehicle ads this year:

1. Polestar is…out there

Karen Nyberg knows a thing or two about space, having spent more than 180 days up there, orbiting the Earth no less than 2,656 times and traveling more than 70 million miles. She’s a great choice to narrate Polestar’s environmentally themed campaign, where she reflects on humanity and how “our need to advance our species often comes at the expense of our home.”

The campaign, dubbed ‘The Overview Effect’ does a great job of communicating the delicate position humanity faces and how critical it is that we chart a different course. Nyberg anchors the ad beautifully with the inspirational line:

When you look down on Earth you realise how fragile it is. It’s hanging there in the blackness of space with nothing around it.

2. Mercedes EQS – Just as out there…

This ad dropped (literally) recently and has the gorgeous new EQS floating through the atmosphere – it’s sleek lines gleaming against a clear blue CGI sky, before executing a perfect three-point landing in front of a woman that wouldn’t look out of place in a 90s sci-fi movie. 

The juxtaposition of such strange visuals against the richness of soul singer Louise Golbey’s vocals works remarkably well. Despite sounding like a classic track from the 50s, ‘In Our Dream’ was commissioned for the Merc Ad and is probably the highlight of the spot. Nice tagline ‘This is for you, world.’ Wonder how many they reviewed before landing on that one.

3. Porsche Taycan takes us back to the future

For a while there during the first scenes in this minute long, Spielberg-esque piece, one would have been forgiven for thinking the new Taycan was styled on the DeLorean. But wait! That’s not the Porsche… that actually is a DeLorean! This ad was timed for October 21 – ‘Back to the Future’ day so the link is interesting if not somewhat tenuous. 

It’s a slick ad with the Taycan taking on the DeLorean in a race to 88 mph and beyond. And while the somewhat tongue in cheek spot highlights how much easier it is to charge up the Taycan than the DeLorean time machine, (which needed a bolt of lightning to get it going), it’s hardly one that sets the pulse racing.

4. Volvo hits the beat beautifully

So the car is cool and the edit is super cool, but the most cool thing is the inspired choice of New Order’s classic ‘Blue Monday’ as the driving score that makes this ad absolutely memorable. That the band was at the forefront of new wave rock in the early 80s is somewhat apt given the positioning of XC40 in the EV race.

This is one of those perfect blends of tech and nostalgia and the agency has even managed to tick off the list of features the client no doubt had in the ‘Mandatories’ column. How does it feel? Great!

5. The Tesla ad you’re having when you’re not having a Tesla ad

Elon Musk is either a marketing wizard or just plain lucky because he’s just managed to get Hertz to spend US$4.2b to advertise his cars, which keeps his strategy of not spending a cent on advertising intact. Hertz has signed a deal to buy 100,000 Tesla Model 3 sedans for its fleet and you could almost hear the brief landing on the agency creative’s desk with a resounding thud. Tough gig… but they pulled it off with a fun series of ads featuring star talent in football quarterback Tom Brady across two commercials, “Plugged In” and “Speed.” 

Tom’s great with a football, and not too shabby in front of a camera. The ads might have lit up social media and boosted Hertz branding, but it’s Tesla that’s the big winner, hitting a 1 trillion dollar marketing cap not long after release. 

If our selection above is any indication, then the future of EV advertising is absolutely alive and well with some inspired, weird and wonderful creative executions on offer. Elon has set the bar high in terms of tech, but the knock-on effect of how the new wave of vehicles are going to be marketed to the world is just as fascinating. As Karen Nyberg might say, “Watch this Space.”