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Will Ferrell joining Squid Game? An electric luxury car in the universe of Bridgerton? Escaping a zombie horde from Army of the Dead in an EV pickup truck?
Netflix and General Motors are forming what they call a “strategic alliance” to make it so. And it kicks off with a Super Bowl ad starring Ferrell.
Set to debut in the second quarter of the Big Game (with some teasers debuting online today), the spot will see Ferrell dropped into a number of Netflix originals, with a GM EV at his disposal in each (a Cadillac Lyriq in Bridgerton, a Chevy Blazer EV in Squid Game and a Sierra EV in Army of the Dead). The tagline for the campaign is: “Let’s give EVs the stage they deserve.”
But the Super Bowl is just the beginning of what executives at both companies say is a long-term, “ongoing” partnership, one that will see GM EVs featured or incorporated into a variety of Netflix original TV series and movies. Already, Netflix says that the upcoming seasons of Love Is Blind and Queer Eye will feature GM EVs (the Chevy Bolt EUV and Hummer EV, respectively), as will the upcoming Rob Lowe comedy Unstable, which will feature the Cadillac Lyriq.
GM chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl says that the automaker has created a “fleet” of electric vehicles that will be at Netflix’s disposal for the duration of the partnership, which was brokered by UTA.
Netflix chief marketing officer Marian Lee, speaking to reporters at a virtual press conference, said that the streaming service is focused “on educating all of the talent that we work with, so that they can incorporate the EVs into their storylines in an organic way, so it doesn’t feel out of place.”
Lee says that Netflix “does not dictate” how EVs get incorporated into the programs, leaving it up to showrunners or directors to use the fleet as they see fit.
“These are just shows that are showcasing people in their normal lives,” Lee added, noting that issues like hunting for a public charger could be folded into stories. “And so I can’t imagine a world in which creators would not be utilizing that in their storylines.”
Netflix first said last year that it planned to incorporate EVs into its original programming as part of its corporate sustainability mission. In addition to GM EVs, last year the streamer also used EVs from Hyundai and Audi in its programming. But the new partnership will give it access to a wider fleet of options.
“This is a long-term partnership that we have with GM, there’s no end date in our mind,” Lee said. “This continues to build on both of our companies’ desire for a more sustainable future. And so we’ll continue to work with GM for as long as they want to work with Netflix.”
Said GM’s Wahl, “I think you can see with this we’re working together to create a blueprint for the whole entertainment industry in how to think about normalizing EVs and showcasing this all-electric future, because we all know it’s good for all of us if we accelerate that transition. So for us teaming up with Netflix is one example of how we’re approaching partnerships and relationships differently to advance this future for everyone.”
And while GM is a major advertiser, and in fact is a Netflix partner on the streaming service’s ad-supported offering, both CMOs say that the EV alliance is separate from any advertising deal.
“It’s not product placement,” Netflix’s Lee said. “We’re really focused on educating our creators on how to utilize electric vehicles and all of their productions. So again, this is a really natural way for us to do that.”
Said Wahl, “Of course, we’re looking forward to working in partnership with the Netflix team in the future, as they build up their advertising business,” adding, “that’s a separate effort.”
But for the Big Game, the two companies are hoping to generate some electricity of their own to set the stage for their alliance.
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