Whimsy seems to be the watchword for commercials advertising hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles right now. A few days ago, Hyundai started airing a pair of delightfully amusing ads featuring ordinary citizens singing a song that begins, “I’d like to buy a hybrid car but I’m not sure it’s for me.” It then shows a series of folks like construction workers, court reporters, dog groomers, and karate instructors. In 60 seconds, the ads destroy all the common misconceptions about hybrid cars.
Now Chrysler is doing something similar. It has released a new commercial featuring a family driving in a new Pacifica Hybrid minivan while a flock of flying pigs soars overhead.
The Pacifica Hybrid ad focuses attention on its 84 MPGe fuel economy rating and its 33 mile range on battery power alone. True to Chrysler’s concerns that mainstream drivers are skittish about cars with plugs, the ad never once mentions the car is a plug-in hybrid. Apparently, the MoPar boys are afraid that tidbit will send customers running away from showrooms in horror. Best to break it to them gradually.
The commercial does highlight the forward collision warning system on the Pacifica Hybrid and its UConnect Theater rear seat entertainment system. The message is that this is a no-compromise minivan that is ideally suited for families today.
Production of the Pacifica Hybrid began a few weeks ago and the first cars are either in dealer showrooms now or will be arriving shortly. The unconventional minivan is eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, which makes its price competitive with a mid-level conventional Pacifica. All a prospective buyer needs to consider is whether it is better to have a new Pacifica that gets 22 mpg combined or one that gets 32 mpg according to the EPA. Seems like a no-brainer.
The new Pacifica Hybrid advertising campaign is another example of a major manufacturer making an effort to educate the public about models with unconventional powertrains. Recent surveys indicate there is still a lot of misinformation and confusion about hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars, so kudos to Hyundai and Chrysler for addressing the lack of information.
The last 3 seconds of the Pacifica Hybrid ad offer one last cute way of emphasizing how unusual a plug-in hybrid minivan is. See if you can spot it.