Sam Raimi’s new ad features 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 26, 2016

It would take an extraordinary director to create a commercial that effectively utilizes the elements of the horror genre to highlight the advanced safety features of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.

This creative feat is achieved in a 60-second commercial directed by Sam Raimi, a critically-acclaimed director well-known for his supernatural cult horror series Evil Dead. According to Sam Raimi, the Chevrolet commercial was approached the same way as in movie making – by considering the plot, the characters and outcome.

The only difference is that, instead of the usual ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’ plot in most suspense/horror films, the Chevrolet commercial shows that all seemingly-inevitable accidents are all thwarted one by one, thanks to the car's state of the art active safety technologies available in the new models.

Paul Edwards, U.S. Vice President for Chevrolet Marketing, explains that Chevrolet has been looking for creative ways to highlight the safety features of its new models in a commercial. In this new commercial, Chevrolet has once again displayed its flair for a creative approach, by combining elements of the classic horror film genre with the technological advantage of its new offerings.

According to Raimi, one of the hallmarks of a good horror film is when the audience is so immersed in the film that they would call out warnings to the main characters to save them.

This kind of immersion is what Raimi had in mind when making the commercial and it is the same immersion and care Chevrolet has for its loyal clients. To achieve this degree of audience immersion for such a short span of time, Raimi has to draw out from his expertise in the horror film genre.

The audience is led by a combination of music and lighting to the shifting sound emphasis of the theater surround system, giving a sense of urgency to the warning voices. In the end, the protagonist followed warning voices and averts a dangerous situation.

The highlighted active safety technologies available for both Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze are:

  • Front Pedestrian Alert via a forward-directed camera to help avert or at least reduce the damage to pedestrians. The system is even equipped to automatically apply last-second braking.
  • Lane Keep Assist Alert with Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert
  • New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Front and Rear Park Assist
  • Intellibeam that provides improved illumination and visibility by switching headlamps to high beam automatically
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking
  • Automatic Parking Assist

The Chevrolet commercial is set to run for six months at around 14,000 screens across 2,300 theaters nationwide. Chevrolet estimates that this ad would enable the Malibu and Cruze launch to connect with a much broader audience than if they run a single ad in a major sporting event.

Press Release


Fans of classic horror movies have all experienced that moment where the music takes an ominous turn and the unsuspecting character is on the verge of opening a door where danger awaits. Imagine however, if for once, that character could heed the warnings of theatergoers and avoid the inevitable threat.

Inspired by those very scenes, Chevrolet is drawing attention to the wide array of available active safety technologies in its all-new 2016 Malibu and Cruze in a trailer that is playing in theaters nationwide.

“We continue to look for unexpected, attention grabbing ways to tell our story,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “With this trailer, we have thrown a twist into that quintessential, edge of your seat horror movie moment to highlight the comprehensive suite of available active safety technologies in our new Malibu and Cruze.”

The 60-second trailer was directed by acclaimed, Michigan-born filmmaker, Sam Raimi. Raimi’s film career was established with the supernatural cult horror film series Evil Dead making him the ideal choice to direct this piece of creative for Chevrolet.

“We approached the development of the Chevrolet trailer in the same way we would an actual movie – by thinking through the plot, characters and eventual outcome,” said Raimi.

Raimi employs several cinematic techniques to immerse the audience in the scene. From the music and lighting typical of a horror movie, to shifting emphasis of the theater surround sound to the rear to draw attention to the warning voices. And finally by breaking the fourth wall when the protagonist heeds the warnings from members of the audience and walks away safe from danger.

“I’ve been in plenty of theatres where the audience is so concerned for the safety of the main characters that they call out warnings to save them. That’s what this is based on”, added Raimi.

Chevrolet expects to reach nearly 2300 theatres and 14,000 screens nationwide during the six-month run of the trailer – this offers the brand the opportunity to reach a broader audience during the launch of the Malibu and the Cruze than a single ad during a major sporting event.

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