Electric vehicles

Automakers are starting to electrify their ads

In 2021, automakers spent 282% more on TV ads featuring EVs, but gas-powered ads still dominate.
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Automakers aren’t just shifting cash to manufacturing electric vehicles—they’re spending more to advertise them, too.

Show me the money: In 2021, automakers spent $248 million on national TV ads featuring EVs, up 282% from $65 million in 2020, Bloomberg reports. Despite the spending surge, the amount invested in non-EV ads still eclipsed what was spent on electric.

  • Automakers spent $3.1 billion advertising non-EVs on TV last year, and the share of EV ads jumped to 7.5% from 2% in 2020—a big increase, but from a small base.

The same trends apply to the number of ad spots: In 2020, there were 8,000 national TV ads for EVs, and in 2021 that skyrocketed to 33,000. Meanwhile, TV ads for non-EVs fell from 563,000 in 2020 to 531,000 in 2021.

Zoom out: The US’s market leader for EVs—Tesla—famously spends $0.00 on advertising its cars, preferring to instead rely on Elon Musk’s ability to drum up excitement for the vehicles. Legacy automakers, already accustomed to spending big to advertise their vehicles, seem poised to stick to the roads they know when it comes to EVs.

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