Netflix And General Motors Teaming On Will Ferrell Super Bowl Commercial Touting Deal To Put EVs In Shows

Netflix and General Motors have formed a partnership that will see electric vehicles from the automaker featured in upcoming series and films.

To kick off the initiative, the companies have cast Will Ferrell in a co-branded commercial set to air February 12 during Super Bowl LVII on Fox. Thirty- and 60-second versions of the spot will be released in the coming days.

No financial terms or deal logistics were disclosed in the official announcement, though execs at both companies maintained during a press briefing that the arrangement is not traditional product placement. Plans call for Netflix series Love is Blind, Queer Eye and Unstable over the next year to feature the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, respectively. Love is Blind and Queer Eye are unscripted mainstays for Netflix, while Unstable is a new scripted comedy series starring Rob Lowe.

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Through special effects, the Super Bowl ad inserts Ferrell into primarily scripted fare, including Squid Game and Bridgerton, as well as the Zack Snyder film Army of the Dead.

While the prominent vehicle placements are played up for comic effect in the ad, execs at the companies maintained that the aim will be to keep things as organic as possible. Showrunners and directors will continue to have discretion about the ways EVs are used in shows, without any meddling from the streamer or GM, they said.

GM has had a presence during the Super Bowl in recent years to promote its lineup of EVs. Ferrell appeared in a 2021 commercial for the automaker that saw him trekking to Norway to assert the capabilities of the U.S. to catch up with and overtake the Scandinavian nation in terms of EV usage.

“Entertainment has a huge impact on culture. We want to make EVs famous on streaming, small and silver screens to build an EV car culture through storytelling that incorporates the experiences of driving and owning an EV,” said Deborah Wahl, GM Global Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release. “Netflix is a great partner because of the company’s compelling storytelling, commitment to sustainability and track record of sparking conversations that shape cultural trends. We are united in creating a better, more sustainable future for our world as we bring everybody in on EVs.”

While the financial benefits are difficult to discern precisely in the short term, the deal gives Netflix a relationship with a major automaker at a time when it has recently entered the advertising business. Since long before James Bond drove his first Aston-Martin onscreen, Hollywood has had close ties with car companies. The Transformers franchise, to choose one recent example, heavily relied on a pact with GM. More broadly, Netflix has also been expanding its horizons as it faces more competition, especially in the U.S. It recently expanded its consumer products setup at Walmart and has more aggressively sought to build franchise properties with extensions into events, video games and other verticals.

“At Netflix, we create shows and films that can influence culture and spark meaningful conversations,” Netflix CMO Marian Lee said. “GM is a cultural leader in the auto industry and we are proud to partner with them in their efforts by amplifying the presence of electric vehicles in our shows and films. This partnership reflects our ongoing commitment to support the rapid changes taking place in the world around us.”

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