How do funny, fictional characters engage in serious, real-world issue like climate change? For General Motors’ 2022 Super Bowl social media campaign, we resurrected throwback ’90s movie villain Dr. Evil, played by Mike Myers, and tasked him with just that.
In “Dr. EV-il,” an extension of GM’s “Everybody In” campaign, Dr. Evil meets his match—climate change—and learns he has been demoted to being only the second biggest threat to the world. To regain his top position, Dr. Evil and his henchmen hatch a diabolical plan to take control of GM to use our Ultium battery platform to fight this new nemesis.
We set out to connect a rebranded “Dr. EV-il” to the communities, channels and advocates who matter on climate change, grab their attention, and rally them to help us save the world by supporting our vision for an equitable, zero-emissions future.
While we could have used our own GM social presence to share our vision and action plan, we knew we needed to unite climate change advocates around an unexpected hero. To do this, we aimed to:
In the week leading up to Super Bowl LVI, we executed a star-studded teaser campaign that reintroduced Dr. EV-il and invited speculation around a new version of favorite on-screen characters. Using paid and organic social posts across Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and Facebook, we dropped cryptic post copy that hinted at an announcement to come.
Rob Lowe, aka Dr. EV-il's right-hand henchman #2, kicked things off with a cryptic Instagram Story featuring his signature evil laugh. We followed this with a set of five teaser videos across GM owned social channels—amplified by paid social support and cast members Rob Lowe and Seth Green sharing GM posts.
With speculation running rampant, we moved from teaser phase to takeover phase. For the ad reveal, we knew we needed to take our story mainstream, where eyeballs and attention already exist. So, a few days before the Big Game we secured a segment on TODAY with Mike Myers to debut the commercial and unveil Dr. EV-il's latest plan with the world. The segment directed viewers to GM.com to learn more. Unbeknownst to visitors, Dr. Ev-il seized the website, sprinkling in jokes from the film franchise as employee quotes, implementing his team as GM’s new leaders, commandeering the GM Talent Acquisition site to recruit new besties, and detailing his plan for total domination over climate change.
Knowing social media would buzz about Mike Myers’ Dr. EV-il revival, we followed the TODAY segment with a social media stunt to complement the ad creative. Dr. EV-il hijacked the GM social accounts to declare his intentions to the masses.
To stage this EV-il takeover, our social media team crafted a series of posts across channels in Dr. EV-il’s voice that spoke to his successful campaign to reign over the EV world, thus saving the world from climate change. We also changed our GM social profile image from the GM logo to Dr. EV-il's signature pinky-to-mouth hand gesture, which prompted some users to sincerely slide into our DMs asking if we’d truly been hacked.
Following the ad reveal and social channel takeover through gameday, the GM social team put on their best EV-il villain hat and had some diabolical fun replying to other brands and organizations, celebrities, musicians, influencers and policymakers with witty comebacks and one-liners under the guise of Dr. EV-il—all intended to rally support for the zero-emissions cause.
After gameday, we closed out the takeover and paid off our commitment to an equitable, zero-emissions future in a big, actionable way. We put out news allowing GM’s rightful CEO and leader, Mary Barra, to clap back and up the ante on Dr. EV-il in a meaningful way when she announced via her Twitter that GM would double its Climate Equity Fund to a total of $50M to help close equity gaps in the transition to EVs and other sustainable technology. Barra simply stated, “You’ve had your fun, Dr. EV-il. We’ll take it from here.”
We introduced an unexpected hero to climate advocates. With them engaged, we inspired them in supporting our vision for an equitable, zero-emissions future. In reaching this group, it was important we backed up our light-hearted take on a serious issue with our commitment to dedicate $50M to sustain our Climate Equity Fund. By paring this announcement with the campaign's end, we pivoted the conversation to the advocates tackling climate through community-level projects.
By the numbers, in the crowded space of Super Bowl week, our message broke through to drive EV conversation. Our takeover led to Dr. EV-il trending #9 on Twitter in the U.S. on gameday, drove 6M impressions across GM-owned social channels, and garnered 81% positive/neutral earned conversation sentiment. The takeover sparked engagement from high-profile entertainers, sports teams and brands, leading to awareness from key audiences on social. GM.com visits reached a daily high on gameday, hitting 82K, +134% more than last year.
Campaign exposure contributed to gains for GM, including awareness (+4), brand momentum (+6), and brand attributes including “is trustworthy” (+5), “is creating EVs for all kinds of people” (+5), and “is committed to an all-electric future” (+4).
Among the praise for our commercial—and desire for a fourth Austin Powers movie—we saw social conversations regarding climate change, GM’s $50M investment, and sustainability of EVs. Notable engagements included praise from reporters and policymakers, collaboration posts with En Vogue, Rob Lowe, and Seth Green, and banter with other brands, including the Detroit Tigers, Rocket Mortgage, and Hellman’s.
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