GM and Netflix kick off ‘strategic alliance’ for EV exposure with Super Bowl ad starring Will Ferrell

General Motors (GM) and Netflix have announced a new partnership to increase the presence of electric vehicles on screen. As part of what the companies are calling a “strategic alliance,” Netflix will feature at least one EV in each movie or series it manages. To kick off this EV media movement, GM and Netflix teamed up for a Super Bowl commercial starring Will Ferrell interacting with EVs in a number of recognizable shows like Squid Game and Bridgerton. The companies have also posted two teaser spots this morning that you can check out below.

For a third year in a row, General Motors has invested big bucks into airtime during the NFL’s Super Bowl, although it won’t share exactly how much it actually spent this year. It was just two years ago that the American automaker used comedic icon Will Ferrell as its mouthpiece to challenge carbon-conscious Norway in a battle for EV adoption supremacy.

The spot featured the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV, both of which have since entered production and begun deliveries. This was also the first big spot after GM announced its “Everybody In” marketing campaign. Last year, GM continued the marketing of its Ultium platform EVs with a bit of nostalgia, casting some familiar faces from the Austin Powers franchise, including Dr. EV-il, who wants to save the world … then of course take it over.

For this year’s campaign, GM, alongside its new strategic partner Netflix, has brought back Mr. Ferrell and placed him in various marque EVs across several popular Netflix shows – much like the digital media giant intends to do in its own content going forward.

GM and Netflix tease EV-centric scenes ahead of Super Bowl

When its launch spot titled “EVs on screen” airs in front of millions tuning in on February 12, GM and Netflix hope to kick off a new movement in popular media in which the presence of electric vehicles is not only more common, but also more relatable.

In a recent call with journalists, GM global chief marketing officer Debra Wahl and Netflix chief marketing officer Marian Lee explained the process it took to establish such a partnership, which they describe as a “strategic alliance.” Both were adamant that this relationship is not product placement as GM is not paying to have its EVs featured in Netflix managed content. Wahl elaborated:

Marian and I talked a lot in the beginning, ‘how do we rewrite the marketing playbook?’ I mean, it’s really important for both of our businesses, but it only works if it’s good for both partners and we both get a message across that’s impactful. I absolutely love what Netflix is doing behind the camera. I think that’s just as important and really has an impact as well.

Wahl is referencing Netflix’s additional commitments beyond “EVs on screen,” including more sustainability in its production practices by optimizing energy use, going electric wherever possible, and “decarbonizing the rest.”

Executives from both companies explained that they intend to educate creators and show runners on Netflix projects about EVs (from GM and other automakers), so that they can integrate them into their stories as more than just props, but actual tools in their storytelling.

When asked, GM and Netflix said they will in no way dictate how the EVs are used but can’t imagine why creators wouldn’t utilize them in their plots to showcase people in their everyday lives looking for a charger, or zooming away at high speeds thanks to instant torque.

Looking ahead, GM’s vehicles can be seen in some upcoming Netflix content, including the Chevy Bolt EUV in Love is Blind, GMC Hummer EV in Queer Eye, and the Cadillac Lyriq in Unstable. Netflix explained that its spotlight on EVs will include collaboration with other automakers as well. For instance, several of Audi’s EV models were prominent in Netflix’s 2022 film The Gray Man.

That being said, Marian Lee said it very excited about its alliance with GM and intends to feature more and more of its EVs going forward. Wahl shared a similar sentiment, stating “This is a long term effort. I hope there won’t ever be an end.”

Before GM and Netflix go public with their “EVs on Screen” Super Bowl commercial, they are offering us a little taste of what’s to come in the form of two teasers featuring Will Ferrell in a similar vein to what you’ll see on February 12. Check out “Mask,” featuring a familiar scene from Squid Game below, plus a second spot called “Directions” with Army of the Dead you can view here. Enjoy!

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