Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chevy Volt Dancers: Come On, It Wasn't That Bad!

"Presenting the Chevy Volt Dancers"
FOXNews (December 15, 2009)

" How quickly dreams can become nightmares.

"Just a few days after the engineering team behind the Chevrolet Volt triumphantly rolled out the production version of its much-anticipated car for journalists to test, the folks in marketing followed it up with folk music, break dancing, and what looks like a few rejects from a 1986 high school production of the 'Pirates of Penzance'.

"Click here for VIDEO of the Chevy Volt Dancers

"Word that General Motors had commissioned a theme song for the car called 'Chevy Volt and Me' first turned up last week on gm-volt.com, an independent blog dedicated to the development of the car...."

"...Although it looks more like a 'Saturday Night Live' skit, the dance routine that was performed on the Volt display at the Los Angeles Auto Show is all too real. ... Often out of sync. Reportedly, the cringe-inducing interpretation of an electric-powered future took place every hour during the ten days of the show...."

That review got me interested. It's not often that we get to see genuinely awful marketing.

I checked out the video. It starts with these words on the screen: "THE FUTURE IS ELECTRIFYING".

"The Chevy Volt Dance"

GMVolt, YouTube (December 13, 2009)
video, 2:22

"GM's official choreographed dance routine performed at he LA Auto Show and set to the official song 'Chevy Volt and Me'"

A Nit-Picking Point or Two, About the Review

The reviewer described the non-break-dancing dancers as "a few rejects from a 1986 high school production of the 'Pirates of Penzance'." Their costumes? Yeah. I can see that. The dancers? Only if the reviewer had high school seniors in mind. Those are full-grown women. And, good dancers. Same goes for the man who did the break dancing.

The break dancer "also plays air guitar", according to the reviewer. The review links to a YouTube video posted by GMVolt: There's a real guitar in the man's hands. Granted, he's obviously not playing it - the guitar music goes on after he sets it down.

The "milquetoast tune"? Well, maybe. It's catchy, though: my brain had it on 'replay' after I stopped watching the video. The lyrics sounded like rough-draft material to me, but they may have been chosen for being memorable: not polished.

Pirates? Where Have We Seen That Before?

The pirate theme may have been chosen in the spirit of 'me too!' Remember the long-running "pirate" commercials for FreeCreditReport.com?

"Free Credit Report Commercial - Singing Pirates"

bigcouchpotato, YouTube (October 24, 2007)
video, 0:29

"Because of Identity theft, a man is forced to work in fish food restaurant and...."

Back to That Volt Dance

I think the reviewer missed a vital point: The dancers were doing their job just fine. Unless they also did the choreography, they shouldn't be blamed for the - familiar? - routines they performed.

And, come on: This is a commercial, not some long-hair dance recital. The idea is to get people's attention, and then direct it toward the product.

Come to think of it, those dance routines may not have been the best choice, after all. I was in marketing for a decade or so, and learned why you don't see all that many bikini babes in ads high-end advertising these days.

Marketing research uncovered an obvious-in-20-20-hindsight point: the 18-24 male demographic being targeted noticed the ads, all right. More specifically, they noticed that lusciously nubile young woman in the bikini. Product? Nope, they didn't remember that - sometimes they didn't remember there was a product near the woman. The woman: Her, they remembered.

The Lyrics? Simon and Garfunkel They're Not

On the other hand, I remember that the Volt is (allegedly) "cleaner" and "cheaper" - and something about its not making as much pollution for us to breathe. Not that vehicular pollution is a big problem, here in Sauk Centre. Manure pits being turned - - - but that's another topic.

The lyrics won't win any poetry contests, but they're a pretty good recitation of what appear to be the Chevy Volt's selling points.

Bottom line? Let's remember that "The Chevy Volt Dance" is part of a commercial. The idea is to get people remembering the Chevy Volt, at least until next November, when it's supposed to be available. I think it achieves that goal.

And, I like it. But then, I like Crazy Frog videos, "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas," and the old Hamms Bear commercials. ("Yogi Yorgesson's "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas" and the Hamms Bear" (December 15, 2009), "Crazy Frog, Trapped Santa, Daft Factory: the Video" (December 14, 2009))

More-or-less-related posts: Review of the Chevy Volt:
  • "Quick Spin: 2011 Chevrolet Volt"
    FOXNews (December 10, 2009)
    • "Sometimes, dreams actually come true. Even for one of the automotive world’s most beleaguered companies...."


Brigid said...

In fairness to the reviewer, the dancers did seem to be having a timing problem toward the beginning, and the one on our left had a little footing issue in the last stance. Considering that this was live, it was doing pretty good.

Also cheesy, but it got the point across.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Agreed - this was not the most polished performance I've ever seen.

Cheesy? This is advertising, not the Bolshoi Ballet. As you imply.

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