Super Bowl commercials have a reputation for being funny. Or thought-provoking. Or misguided.
So where does last night’s “Green Police” commercial from Audi fit in? How about outrageous and perhaps dangerous to the very mindset it is trying to benefit from?
In 60 seconds, with millions and millions of people watching, Audi made all environmentalists look like wackos. Ordinary citizens were arrested for crimes such as choosing plastic over paper in the supermarket, throwing batteries and food waste in the trash, and using incandescent light bulbs, plastic bottles and foam cups. For those worried about environmental extremism, this commercial reflects their worst fears.
By the end of the 60 seconds, only the driver of the Audi A3 TDI clean diesel car avoided the Green Police. It’s the “Green Car of the Year” awarded by Green Car Journal.
USA Today readers have rated the commercial the sixth-best out of 63 commercials – yes, it even finished ahead of the E-Trade babies.
Sure, it’s just a fleeting commercial, and perhaps people thought it was creative, entertaining and memorable. But I think a good part of its success comes from us perceiving, and being concerned about, environmental extremism – and this commercial gives the police an eco-Nazi persona. I’m not sure how stirring up that sentiment helps the Green Car of the Year. And at least one other blogger, the UK’s Faye Sunderland, agrees with me.