I’ve always really loved the Indian car market. It has a really demanding set of requirements for success in the home market, including rough road conditions, expectations that vehicles will be overloaded and overworked, and they have to generally be affordable and rugged. The result is often a lot of innovative thinking and interesting solutions. I think this new MG Comet EV is a result of that, and even though MG is a brand owned by the Chinese company SAIC-GM-Wuling and appears to be a re-badged and re-designed Wuling Air EV, the little boxy car does seem like an EV that should be well-suited to the Indian market, at least in the urban areas. What’s less well-suited to the Indian market is the marketing for the MG Comet EV, especially this brochure, because the Indian market is made up of human beings capable of reading words, seeing pictures, rolling their eyes, and possibly vomiting. It’s just so, oh god, so embarassing, and it’s trying so very, very, very hard, like the amount you’d be trying to pull yourself up onto a ledge if you were dangling off the side of a skyscraper, but instead of desperate gripping and clawing and climbing, it’s trying to sound cool to a bunch of Gen Z kids who are not gonna have it.
Now, I’m going to be perhaps a little harsh on the way this little EV is marketed, but I do want to say that overall this looks like a pretty cool little EV, and is precisely the sort of EV that I think the world – not just India, I mean America, too – needs right now. It’s priced at about $9,760 in American paper money, it seats four, makes a city-car-reasonable 40 hp, can go 143 miles on a charge (which is not only great for something that will be primarily a city car, but if each mile were a kilobyte, would be the capacity of an original Apple II floppy disk), has a 17.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and can support Android Auto and Apple Car Play, something your fancy-ass Tesla can’t do out of the box.
The truth is that a car like this would cover a huge percentage of your day-to-day driving needs (I know because I’ve done a lot more with a lot less) and makes a hell of a lot more sense than hauling around some massive, heavy battery whose full capabilities you only push a few times a year. I think this MG Comet EV has some real potential, which is partially why this painful marketing campaign is so tragic as well as funny. Hopefully, it won’t dissuade too many members of its laser-targeted Gen Z market, who hopefully can look past the pandering and see the good idea underneath it all.
Now, though, let’s get to the pandering! Though, I should put a qualifier here, because while I’m going to be making fun of this brochure, it should be clear that I am a painfully old man, and the most up-to-date slang I use references our nation’s robust telegraph network and probably Pet Rocks and shit. I’m approaching this not as a member of the desired target market of this car, but as a cranky old bastard hoping to squeeze a bit of joy at the expense of some probably well-meaning marketing people just trying to do their fucking jobs, already. That’ll teach them to want to sell cars!
We know we’re in for some fun starting with the cover:
Alright, we have the car in a fantastic green, some happy Gen Z kids awkwardly gesturing at one another or attempting to climb out a window, and that’s all fine. What drives me nuts is the skateboard. Yes, the fucking skateboard. I’m not exactly sure exactly when a skateboard became the lazy, default signifier of Cool Kid Youth Culture, but it sure as hell has. Does it go all the way back to Bart Simpson? Of course, that trope had to exist to be part of that in the first place, but is that the start of the universality of this? Maybe. I don’t know. What I do know is in this instance it looks like it was just rolled into that scene with the MG as an afterthought, like someone realized at the last minute “oh, shit! These are supposed to be cool kids! Where’s the fucking skateboard?” and then slid it into the shot, moments before that shutter clicked.
It doesn’t even look like it belongs to any of the people in the picture? It’s just there, to check a box, skateboard, got it. I’m surprised there aren’t some Beats by Dre headphones on the grass there, too.
Maybe it’s a size comparison? So you can say, oh, damn, that MG looks a lot roomier than my skateboard!
Look, I like all the colors and I think the decals on the car are just fine, this is the sort of car to have fun with, so go nuts. But they copy, oy, it’s so cloying. “Keep it real” causes one pang, and then the “cutting the crap” line feels like something that would be delivered, a bit too loudly and with a bit too much swagger, by a cool youth deacon seconds after he plops down onto a folding chair he’s just turned backwards. And, if you listen carefully, you can hear that “crap” is pronounced like “cr*p.”
Plus the main tagline of “Presenting The New Age Urban Mobility Solution” has the same sort of gentrifier trying-too-hard feel to it as one of those “Urban Taco Fabricator” restaurants that put some old family-owned taquerias out of business.
This page, though, oh boy. Picking tribes, fam, flex, main character energy, woke, legit, vibe-check, and, of course, slaps all make an appearance here, all on the same page, like the writers printed out as many Tik-Tok screenshots as they could, puréed it in a Vitamix, chugged it, and then turned whatever they puked back out into ad copy. It’s dizzying. And someone told that model to make that face and that gesture. Is it possible not to make fun of this? I don’t think it is, at least it wasn’t in our Slack channel:
What is that, exactly? Is it tough? Is it cool? Is whatever is going on there somehow the feeling generated by that car? This just feels like the skateboard all over again. Someone saw people looking kind of like that, doing something like that with their hands, so that’s good enough, it’s in, it’s selling cars!
All the slangiest slang they could slang, all the time, slaying FTW for your tribe, or whatever. They do hedge their bets a bit, making sure that if you’re not as cool as the potential buyers of an MG Comet EV, they’re happy to clue you in on the secret lingo:
See! FOMO means “fear of missing out!” The other page did the same thing for FTW, which they helpfully explain as meaning “Flog That Walrus.” No, no, I’m kidding, they got it right.
I’m being a little harsh, here. Almost every carmaker is guilty of this kind of pandering to whatever the current youngest car-buying generation is doing. Hell, Toyota based their whole Scion sub-brand on embarrassing bullshit like this, and let’s not let Kia off the hook, who committed the cardinal sin of youth pandering by making animals rap:
Besides, I wasn’t kidding when I was saying that little, cheap EVs like this are exactly the sorts of cars that need to happen. And they should be fun, because why the hell not? A rational car design doesn’t have to be boring, so if they want to offer all kinds of sticker kits, even if they have eye-rolling names, who cares?
Another enjoyable foray through Torchlandia! 😀
My impressions of the car, etc…
I WISH we had $10K electric city cars here in America. You can’t even get a used i3 at anywhere near that price (with David’s purchase being the exception that proves the rule).
I like the colors and graphics… that Dia de la Muertos-looking one is great, even if they inexplicably call it ’emoticon’ for some reason.
I look forward to the day when car companies choose to pander to my particular demographic: a bit older than Jason but just as odd and cranky, but unlikely to spend more than is necessary on a car that meets my needs.
I never saw that rapping hamster commercial before, so thanks for that. I still dig Kia Souls and am genuinely sorry that they didn’t offer it as an EV here beyond the first gen.
What is the “Lit Pack” at the end of the article? Do those have different roofs?
WTF is a hamberry? Duckduckgo has a couple of suggestions, but I don’t think they’re on point.
Forget about this lame-ass Chinese junk with poser copywriters.
Yo, homie, don’t fall for this fugazi crap, get a real car, YOLO!
Did Marge Simpson write the copy for this?
No, she just thinks the car is neat.
Yep, that emoticon sticker style really slaps!
(Does the target audience of this brochure know what an “emoticon” is?)
I really really thought that the brochure with these words “”HOW DOES THIS CAR BROCHURE KEEP IT REAL? BY CUTTING THE CRAP” was actually done by Jason as a joke.
I do love the “sticker style” names though. I mean, they just full-on call one of them “Youth” (or “Yutes”, if you speak Pesci). “Blossom”? Did Mayim Bialik approve of that? “Floresta” sounds like a big pharma seasonal allergy drug. “Stop taking Floresta if you or any of your friends are over the age of 20, because you is legit too old, yo.”
I love that Corporate India is also co-opting Day of the Dead iconography (in “Emoticon”). I wonder how the average Indian interprets a flower-bedecked skull sticker?
“I wonder how the average Indian interprets a flower-bedecked skull sticker?”
You think that’s fun you should attend a traditional Hindu wedding for an Indian/European couple. The collective gasp of horror from half the room coupled with the curious puzzlement from the other half when the priest brings out the swastika emblazoned coconut is epic.
My teenage daughter doesn’t even talk like this (that I’m aware of). That marketing material is…ew.
“I don’t care how ‘aspirational’ you are. As your parents, while you live in this house you will drive what we tell you to drive.”
Jason, you are such an idiot. There’s no marketing writing team being compensated for this brochure.
It was all generated by ChatGPT, of course.
Only if ChatGPT was trained on a 2007 Internet model.
What no mention of Steve Bushimi in the BRO-SURE? The skateboard is there for comparison of another vehicle with the same hp. I always thought the KIA SOUL gerbils were an attempt to get the gay male buyer like Sube gets the lesbian market.
I know a guy with a Royal Enfield that’ll slap those smug looks to the curb.
Any new car that’s still affordable is automatically NOT cringe 😀
can we talk about the fact that GM rebadged a bunch of these as Chevy strictly to look good for a United Nations meeting
> In November 2022, the vehicle was imported by General Motors to Egypt as the Chevrolet Spark EV as ride hailing vehicles during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Well…. Since they are the parent company…. They can…
Slang slinging slaps, bra.
I think this is hilarious fr fr no cap
It’s like a Gen X tried to emulate gen z. However they forgot that the cardinal sin of Gen X is to be a poser. Whoever wrote this is most definitely a poser.
No way Gen X had anything to do with this. We can’t be bothered.
You can can definitely be bothered when the M.O. is to half ass your job enough to not get fired. Or sometimes enough not to get hassled.
There’s a joke TPS reports in there somewhere but damned if I’ll find it
I’m leaning towards a millennial. They’d be just young enough to have seen some of these phrases around but way too old to understand how to use them.
Related: I remember a guy in junior high whose family obviously didn’t swear. He came to school one day stringing together phrases like he’d just joined the Navy, but I guess the Bizarro Navy, because nothing he said made sense. It was a good laugh for some of us from the other side of the tracks.
Where can I download some tracks from Music Band to listen to while I ride my skateboard?
But if it wasn’t for the Kia ad, I would’ve never discovered the Black Sheep, and my life would be sadder.
They could have saved themselves some time and asked chatgpt to write the ad, which I just did, and here’s what it said:
Yo, what’s up Gen Z? Introducing the MG Comet EV – the ride that’s going to have you lit! This all-electric baby is fresh, fly, and totally eco-friendly. If you’re looking for a car that’s going to have you looking cool and saving the planet at the same time, then the MG Comet EV is the ride for you.
Let’s start with the basics, this whip is electric, which means zero emissions and a clean conscience. And let’s not forget the long-lasting battery that’ll keep you cruising for miles on end. No more gas stations, no more smog, just pure electric power.
But the MG Comet EV isn’t just about being green, it’s also about style. This ride is fresh AF with its bold exterior and sleek design. You’re going to be turning heads, guaranteed. And let’s not forget the performance – this ride can hit up to 120 km/h and has a range of up to 320 km on a single charge. That’s some next-level s**t!
Inside, the MG Comet EV is packed with all the tech you need to stay connected and stay safe. The infotainment system is on point, so you can blast your beats and stay on top of your social media game. And with advanced safety features like lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking, you’ll be chillin’ with peace of mind.
So if you want a ride that’s going to have you looking and feeling fly while also helping to save the planet, then you need the MG Comet EV. This whip is the real deal, and it’s waiting for you to come check it out. Don’t sleep on this ride, come get your MG Comet EV today!
That is genuinely so much better, albeit a bit more mid-late 2010s than early 2020s
Holy crap! Is that really output from chatGPT? I’m so used to it outputting slightly odd words that this is almost incredible. Good bot.
Yes, really chatGPT. A lot of marketers (myself included) use it now as a starting point for copy.
This chatGPT gets the stats and information wrong. Even AI is a poser.
Words like “fly” and “Chillin'” take me back to the early 90’s and “In Living Color”.
When this baby hits 88 kilometers per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.
At any rate, Mercedes ChatGPT country song was pretty awesome.
If that’s really ChatGPT output it’s surprisingly much better than the drivel I just read above.
Honest, it’s ChatGPT and a prompt that only asked once after 20 seconds thought.
You might hate it now, but wait till you drive it!
I’m not sure what’s more cringey (yes, cringey the adjective, not cringe the noun): Blatantly targeting the cool youth like in this way, or Wendy’s current approach where their social media account now looks like “a car club where everyone acts like boomers” and all their posts look like they came from your incohertent aunt (gobbless her soul) which is ironically causing youngsters to go nuts:
I was about to ask for an example of the car club’s posts since it’s a private group, but after reading the Wendy’s ones… yeesh… I thought their previous shtick where they tried to be the cool sassy company who pretended to be your friend on social media was annoying, but wow, that’s almost painful to read.
And cue the Simpsons from ~25 years ago…”dude are you being sarcastic?” “<sigh> I don’t even know anymore…”
This. I often don’t know what’s serious or facetious anymore.
This. I’d really like to know whatinhell they thought they were going for with this-or meet somebody who thinks this is funny (well, maybe not actually in person)
Came here for this. Going back to sleep now, to recommence dreaming of shouting at clouds.
Wow, that’s bad.