Polestar’s first ever Super Bowl ad, which aired yesterday during the showdown between the Rams and Bengals, stood out for two reasons: it took a shot at Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, and it was unlike any other commercial that aired during the Big Game. Have a look at the full 30-second spot, entitled “No Compromises.”
The serious, stark ad details everything Polestar is not: no empty promises, no punchlines and “no conquering Mars.” It’s a not-subtle shot at Tesla, whose CEO Elon Musk is also the founder of SpaceX, a company building rockets in the hopes of eventually colonizing Mars. Meanwhile, Polestar’s CEO Thomas Ingenlath is an automotive designer by training, and solely focused on bringing to fruition his brand’s particular vision of a sustainable future here on Earth.
The spot takes aim at other auto makers too, promising “no greenwashing” and “no empty promises.” Indeed, despite being a new-ish upstart brand, Polestar has so far delivered on its promises. Since the brand launched in 2017, Polestar has launched two vehicles, a plug in hybrid coupe — Polestar 1 — and a fully-electric sedan — the Polestar 2 — as planned. And, we have no reason to doubt the brand will also deliver on future promises as well. The company plans to launch three new EVs in three years, starting in 2022. The Polestar 3, the brand’s first SUV, should be unveiled very soon.
Still, invoking climate activist Greta Thunberg’s famous “blah blah blah” speech — in which she eviscerated global leaders for failing to lower carbon emissions — is a bold move, especially for a car company. The spot didn’t actually mention Thunberg, but we’re sure her speech came to mind when the “No blah blah blah” line flashed across the screen in Polestar’s spot. To its credit, the brand does seem to take sustainability more seriously than many of its rivals. For example, Polestar is promising completely climate-neutral cars that leave the factory with zero carbon-footprint by 2030. But still, 2030 is a far-off target.
No celebrity needed
The second thing that made Polestar’s spot so unusual was that it didn’t rely on celebrity cameos. Nearly every other big-budget car commercial during Super Bowl LVI had serious star power. You can watch all these other Super Bowl commercials in full below.
Nissan had Eugene Levy, Brie Larson, Danai Gurira, and Dave Bautista show off the new Nissan Z coupe. Chevrolet took advantage of the fact we’ve all been (re)watching the Sopranos during the pandemic by putting Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Meadow Soprano) in an electric pickup and having her drive around to the Soprano’s theme song. General Motors used the cast of Austin Powers to announce the company is aiming to offer 30 different EVs by 2030. Hyundai had Jason Bateman go on a trip through time. And, last but certainly not least, BMW got Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek to dress up as Greek gods (Zeus and Hera, natch) and retire to Palm Springs in the all-electric iX SUV.
Polestar’s commercial didn’t even have a voice-over, let alone an actor. Instead, the company relied on slow-moving shots of the Polestar 2 EV. The minimal commercial suited Polestar’s hyper-modern Swedish aesthetic to a tee.
“We are a young and ambitious brand. We believe in ‘no compromises’, for our design language, our sustainability efforts, and the performance of our cars, and we wanted to share that philosophy with this ad,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath in a statement.
The company is ramping up its publicity efforts ahead of a planned listing on the Nasdaq, with blank-cheque firm Gores Guggenheim, that’s supposed to take place in the first half of 2022.
Finally, in case you missed it, this isn’t the first time Polestar has had Tesla in its sights.