Following up to yesterday’s post, I do believe we all need to look for cleaner and more sustainable ways to power things. As the electric car is both a hot topic and a meaningful attempt at becoming more environmentally responsible, I continued to dig a little after I wrote yesterday’s blog.

Nissan’s new spots simply build the entire category of “electric” cars, but, as I said yesterday, it lacks any preference-building for Nissan’s Leaf, which often means only the market leader will be chosen (think, Toyota’s Prius).

Here is the ad in its entirety:

It is interesting, but it is only about the category of electric cars and you only know who the spot is for in the last few seconds.

Now look at this ad:

Do you remember who the first ad was for? I will give you a hint, it was not Renault even though you could be forgiven for thinking so.

These are two separate ads done by two different ad agencies that are exactly the same in nearly every way. How could something like this happen?  It happens because neither ad has a message to create preference for the particular brand nor is the brand itself embedded in them.

Instead they each rely on competing auto industry creative shops to come up with some clever way of talking about their brand of electric car when, in fact, each execution fell back to talking about the category of electric car because there was no strategy – and duplicated each other in the process.

This is what happens when there is no brand point of view (unless the brand of both Nissan and Renault happens to be exactly the same, which wouldn’t be a brand at all). The auto industry is floundering for meaning and has become so generic that the ads are no longer similar – they are identical. They are all saying, essentially, “Buy our brand because we make cars.”

Sadly, I think the automotive industry has done irreparable harm to itself and people are getting accustomed to buying a car brand simply because their cars have 4 wheels and an engine. and their previous one was running out of steam.

If that is what Nissan and Renault are after, they have succeeded.