The TV buy begins Saturday during Fox’s college football coverage and will continue Sunday with NFL programming, including NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” the most expensive buy on TV. In total, Chevy is targeting some 9 billion impressions with its paid media, with earned and organic social aiming to “double that,” Kubitskey said.

That social reach will heavily rely on what Kubitskey characterized as “a really big stable of influencers”—a first for Chevy—which the brand has dubbed internally as “Chev-angelists.”

“We didn’t go after LeBron James and Tom Brady,” she said. “We’re going after some influencers with millions of followers and then we are going after a lot of micro-influencers who have more of … an authentic voice in their own communities, so they might have a few thousand followers.”

Four of the influencers appear in the TV ad. They include Terrence Jenkins, a model and entertainer known as Terrence J, who is a popular advocate for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Jenkins, who has previously worked with Chevy, will be called on to spread the word about the Blazer EV on social media; he has 3.1 million Instagram followers.

Also included in the campaign are the owners of a Latin dance studio in Milwaukee called Gustavo Kyrstal Dance, which counts 1.4 million followers on TikTok. They will be asked to plug the family-oriented Equinox. 

Letting influencers take control

Chevy will be careful not to dictate or script the influencer messages. The goal, Kubitskey said, is to start “a movement,” and get “people to talk to their fans in their voice about Chevy’s products. Frankly, it’s an exercise for us to step back and let them take control of the narrative.”

Such an approach at one time would have seemed implausible for a massive brand such as Chevy, which is used to controlling its narrative. But letting go of the reins, at least a little, has become a necessity for brands as they seek to gain notice from everyday Americans who are more apt to be glued to social media, not TV. 

Word-of-mouth marketing—including the kind spread digitally—is especially critical when it comes to EVs. That’s because potential buyers look for trusted voices to guide what is often their first purchase of a non-gas-powered vehicle. In the U.S., among those likely to buy an EV as their next vehicle, 37% cited “friends and family” as their main influence, according to a recent survey from consultancy AlixPartners.

“EVs are giving auto companies a chance to revamp how they’re perceived by consumers as their offerings will evolve dramatically,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, said in an email interview. 

“Electrification is a complex topic so deploying influencers to explain this to potential consumers in a way they will understand makes a lot of sense,” she added. “Topics like setting up charging stations and range aren’t always straightforward; leveraging influencers is a solid communications strategy because they can speak to their audiences in a digestible and relatable way compared to the more general messaging in advertisements.”