Communication Analysis Assignment - GM & Netflix (Why Not An EV?)

Sep 27, 2023


Instructions - Communication Analysis


Must Include; Bibliograpgy, Title Page, Reference Page, and the stated word count (1000 to 1250 words)

The final assignment for the course asks you to analyze an example of communication.

Your analysis will incorprate at least three concepts, theories, or scholarly thinkers, from the course.

Prompt: Watch the following ad by GM and Netflix, "Why Not An EV?". Analyze the ad using the guidelines outlined in the assignment description.


Communication Analysis Paper


The "Why not an EV" advertisement is a potent example of how versatile contemporary advertising is. This ad delivers a story that goes beyond the marketing of electric cars (EVs) thanks to its deft blending of comedy, cultural allusions, and convincing message. The advertising, which was skillfully created with a thorough awareness of modern consumer tastes and media dynamics, invites viewers to join in a lighthearted exploration of the potential of EVs. Examining the different aspects and meaning in this advertisement allows us to see how it skillfully mixes amusement and persuasion to captivate audiences and influence a change in customer views and purchasing behavior.

Culture Industry

The "Culture Industry" concept, which Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer notably developed in the 1940s, contends that advertisement entertainment in the manner of television and film is a sort of mass media and a weapon of capitalist domination (Lecture Slide 7, 2023). It contends that various sectors of society influence individuals into being passive consumers, ensuring the existence of capitalism by maintaining the general public occupied and uncritical of social mores.
The "Why not an EV" advertisement encourages the use of electric vehicles (EVs), which aligns with the thesis's views on consumerism. It successfully transforms EVs into a commodity that individuals should want and buy by encouraging them to consider them an option for various circumstances. The "Why not an EV" ad also uses humor and funny scenes from well-known Netflix series to influence viewers' emotions and wants by portraying EVs as appealing even in unusual circumstances.
The "Why not an EV" commercial's lighthearted and amusing tone promotes passive viewing. The humorous encounters and dialogue between the actors’ lure viewers in, and they may not think critically about the fundamental message. This supports the thesis's claim that mass media maintains people's passivity and lack of critical thought (Lecture Slide 7, 2023). The ad cleverly diverts attention away from important social issues by focusing on amusing and ludicrous circumstances. This diversion from essential topics supports the assumption that mass media maintains people focused on enjoyment and precludes critical involvement with political and social concerns(Lecture Slide 7, 2023).
The "Why not an EV" ad promotes a particular product (EVs) inside a capitalist framework, which adds to consumer culture(Lecture Slide 7, 2023). The consumption-driven message promotes capitalism by urging audiences to base their purchases on trends (electric vehicles) and sentimentality. Also, the ad's lighthearted and amusing tone is meant to appeal to a wide audience, which might result in a homogeneity of tastes and inclinations. This is consistent with the theory put out by the "culture industry thesis," according to which mass media produces a uniform sense of culture that appeals to a broad audience of customers(Lecture Slide 7, 2023). 

Public sphere

The "public sphere" was first defined by Jürgen Habermas as a place where people might congregate to discuss and reflect on issues of shared interest. Hence, free and logical discourse in commercials may help shape the audience's attitude(Lecture Slide 7, 2023).
  The "Why not an EV" ad subtly promotes the construction of public opinion by showing popular comedy actors conversing about electric cars (EVs) in amusing and bizarre ways at the start of the commercial. This brief dialogue encourages viewers to think about the usefulness and advantages of EVs ad relate to them as enjoyable products. Although humor is an important component, it offers a forum for EV discussion, which is consistent with the development of public opinion(Lecture Slide 7, 2023).
  The popular Netflix shows actors in the "Why not an EV" advertisement converse with one another, creating a transient and symbolic "public body" due to their interactions. The discussions around EVs and Netflix's integration in movie production resemble the informal "meetings" Habermas claims gave birth to the public sphere(Lecture Slide 7, 2023). However, rather than encouraging thoughtful consideration, the advertisement's main goal is entertaining. Additionally, there is no clear framework to constrain the talks in the advertisement. They imitate casual talks that may occur when people share their ideas and viewpoints on a subject, albeit fictitious and produced.


The presented commercial is consistent with the notion of differentiation, which centers on making differences between comparable commodities (items) by ascribing particular meanings to them (Lecture slide 5, 2023). Electric vehicles (EVs) are given meanings by the "Why not an EV" commercial using various signifiers and signified. It emphasizes the contextual and emotional components of operating an EV more than its technical or practical features. It entails movie tv shows from Netflix that are not generally linked with EVs, including being surrounded by zombies, providing fresh and unorthodox meaning.
The "Why not an EV" ad gives EVs unusual meanings by using comedy scenes and "walking dead" settings. It seeks to distinguish EVs from conventional gasoline cars and upend preconceived notions by putting them in hilarious situations. These allusions link Electric Vehicles to contemporary culture and entertainment, giving the product more cultural worth. The movie scene integration creates circumstances not usually connected to cars, much less EVs. The EVs in the "Why not an EV" advertisement stand apart from rivals by being associated with these distinctive settings, such as scenes from Netflix movies or zombies (the walking dead). The ad appeals to emotions and lifestyle preferences rather than just emphasizing the benefits of EVs. It urges viewers to consider using EVs in situations that reflect their tastes and beliefs, giving the product a feeling of individuality.
Also, the ad does not directly compete with other commercials focusing on EVs' utility (performance, functionality). Rather, it contends by giving EVs unique significance and strong emotional connections that set them apart from other cars. The commercial's hilarious and unusual style attempts to grab attention and leave an indelible mark. This is consistent with the notion that meaningful distinction might increase customer recall and recognition.

Consumer Culture

The "Why not an EV" ad fits numerous criteria for the mass media idea of consumer culture. A civilization that emphasizes consumption and in which the identities of individuals and positions are often connected to the goods they consume is referred to as a "consumer culture"(Lecture slide 5, 2023).
The "Why not an EV" advertisement specifically encourages using electric cars (EVs). It highlights that owning and utilizing an EV may be a desired and useful decision, encouraging viewers to consider using it in various settings. Additionally, the advertisement appeals to viewers' ambitions and goals by featuring EVs in unusual, amusing, and even risk-taking circumstances. This tactic aims to establish an identity associated with EV ownership by inspiring desire (consumer culture).


The "Why not an EV" advertising is a prime example of the complex interaction between differentiation, consumer culture,  and the public sphere at a time when mass media is predominant. The ad successfully gives meaning to electric cars (EVs), turning them into sought-after commodities and evoking a feeling of identity via comedy, emotion, and cultural allusions. The commercial interacts with the idea of the public realm by encouraging interaction and igniting public opinion via amusing discussions. In addition, it highlights the ability of mass media to foster a passive and unquestioning consumer mentality due to its capacity to draw attention away from urgent concerns. The ad's conformity to the culture industry thesis, rooted in the competitive environment of capitalist economies, emphasizes the function of entertainment media in influencing wants and upholding the capitalist system.


Lecture Slide 5. (2023). COMM 1100 Persuasion, Semiotics, and Advertising.
 Lecture Slide 6. (2023). Review.
 Lecture slide 7. (2023). COMM 1100: News, Journalism, and Ideology. 
Marketing the Rainbow. (2023). GM - Why not an EV? GM x Netflix (Super Bowl 2023).        iIA%3D%3D

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