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Chevy's new Volt ad makes the future look boring

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The second-generation Chevrolet Volt that's coming out later this year is probably the most technologically advanced production car that General Motors has ever announced. You wouldn't know that from the ad it posted to YouTube this week, though — a one-minute, 11-second sequence of sensible motoring through urban and suburban landscapes interjected by finger swipes that are supposed to make it look like an iPad or something, I guess? All the while, inoffensive jams waft from your speakers. There's no narration or graphic overlay, because you wouldn't actually want to know anything about the car.

How do you sell a vanilla car with mint chocolate chip technology?

The ad is indicative of a larger problem for Chevrolet: the Volt has to look and act like a normal, mass-market vehicle with vanilla styling and performance to match. Ergo, you end up with a vanilla ad like this one. But the car's high-tech underpinnings — the extended-range electric drivetrain that promises 50 miles on battery power alone — drive up the cost. So you have something that looks like a bit like a Honda Civic for many thousands of dollars more, paired with an ad that makes no attempt to explain the difference.

GM has plenty of time between now and the Volt's on-sale date to explain why everyday drivers should shell out for one of these, but this sleep aid (like Samsung's for the Gear VR) isn't the campaign to do it.

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