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Nissan, Kia spending big to promote EVs, Chevy stays conservative on Volt

With 22 months of record Leaf sales under its zero-emission belt, Nissan has started two big ad campaigns for the battery-powered Leaf. On TV, there's the Kick Gas campaign (it's a popular name) and on social media, Nissan is promoting the EV as the "world's cleanest car" (it's a paint thing). We don't know how much the paint prank is costing, but we do have some estimated numbers for the TV ads.

Nissan has spent over $30 million on TV advertising for the Leaf in 2014.

According to iSpot, which tracks these sorts of things, Nissan spent over $30 million promoting the Leaf on TV in 2014. "Through November of this year," iSpot CEO Sean Muller wrote to AutoblogGreen, "Nissan spent more then $400 million in TV advertising for its traditional fuel fleet, and $22 million for the rechargeable Leaf. It has since dedicated an additional $9 million on it its new Kick Gas campaign, which started airing November 3, shortly after news of the electronic sales slump broke."

iSpot says that Kick Gas aired predominately on NBC, CBS and Fox. The result of those airings can be seen in the charts below, but the takeaway point is that viewers of college football, Gladiator and The Rachel Maddow Show were the most engaged by the ad. Nissan has said the ad is working and that it helped increase Leaf sales in November.

How is Chevrolet promoting the Volt? Not nearly as aggressively as Nissan is with the Leaf. Muller said iSpot estimates that GM spent just $2 million over the past couple of years to sell the plug-in hybrid on TV, despite offering 62 different Volt ads online. Then there's new entry into the mix, the Kia Soul EV. iSpot figures Kia has spent about $15 million on TV airings of that odd sexified hamster spot. That's a lot of money for a car that just went on sale here in October, let alone one that isn't available in most states.

We've asked Chevy, Kia and Nissan for comment on the iSpot numbers but have not yet heard back. You can watch ads for all three vehicles below.

Details on Nissan's Kick Gas:


Read also: recent reviews, test drives, automotive trends and the latest news from the world of cars.

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