Some of you think Audi’s “Green Police” ad that ran during the Super Bowl last night was brilliant satire. Others were creeped out. Count me in the creeped-out camp.
If you missed it, here it is:
Now, here is the context you need to judge which side Audi is on — from the company’s “Audi Green Police” website:
Who are the Green Police?
Green Police: Who are they? Here is a quick primer.
Every day consumers around the globe are faced with a myriad of decisions in their quest to become more environmentally responsible citizens. Paper or plastic? Bottled water or tap water? Gas or electric? Compost Bucket or Recycling Bin? So many questions; yet so many conflicting answers. It can be overwhelming.
Now consumers have help, from the Green Police.
As part of the lead up to their third consecutive Super Bowl ad, Audi has created a fictional Green Police unit that are caricatures of today’s “green movement”. The Green Police are a humorous group of individuals that have joined forces in an effort to collectively help guide consumers to make the right decision when it comes to the environment. They’re not here to judge, merely to guide these decisions.
Coincidentally, there are numerous real Green Police units globally that are furthering green practices and environmental issues. For example, Israel’s main arm of the Ministry of Environmental Protection in the area of enforcement and deterrence is called; you guess it, the Green Police. New York has officers within the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation that are fondly called the “Green Police”. The Green Police is also the popular name for Vietnam’s Environmental Police Department and the UK has a group who dresses in green as part of the Environment Agency’s squad to monitor excessive CO2 emissions.
Audi’s corporate greenies are aggressively peddling “sustainable development” programs through a multi-million-dollar non-profit foundation:
Audi AG has endowed the new Audi Environmental Foundation, an organization designed by the company to focus exclusively on environmentally minded pursuits for the common good, with a $5 million kitty.
The Foundation was established to unify the company’s globally splintered environmental initiatives, bringing them together under one department for maximum efficiencies. The company hopes that the move will allow them to streamline brand communication around the many sustainablility and environmental initiatives they have as well as focusing spend. While the Foundation will have freedom in terms of spend, Audi believes that they can create more sustainable operations by integrating the foundations work into their own corporate culture.
Audi has recently announced other sustainability initiatives as well, including reducing fleet emissions 20% by 2012 and utilizing waste heat in its headquarters. Check out some of the other Audi of America sustainability initiatives here.
Green Car Journal, which designated Audi’s TDI the “Green Car of the Year” (a plaudit featured in the Super Bowl ad), heralded the commercial and snickered at those who have decried the very real manifestations of eco-fascism that have seeped into our daily lives:
Green Police focused on ‘protecting and conserving the Earth’ are now a part of modern life, or at least that’s what a series of tongue-in-cheek public service announcements by Audi would have us believe. The end game? These teasers running on YouTube (www.youtube.com/greenpolice) are leading up to the Audi Green Police Super Bowl ad that spotlights Green Car Journal’s 2010 Green Car of the Year winner, the clean diesel Audi TDI.
The YouTube videos include one focused on ‘napkin abuse,’ which warns against taking more than a single napkin per sandwich – or burrito, or pizza slice, or fish taco – because this leads to more than a billion pounds of napkins in landfills. And those power strips in your home or office? According to these white-shirted, green-focused officials they’re nothing less than ‘Mother Nature haters’ that facilitate CO2 emissions and harm the environment.
They’re pure fiction, of course. But that seems to have escaped many viewers who have commented on what an issue it is to be told how to live their lives by the Green Police. Score one for Audi, because that buzz will set the stage for the Audi Super Bowl ad that follows.
Audi’s bottom-line corporate message is that the Green State is here to stay and that capitulating to it — and capitalizing on it, as Audi has — is the path to survival.
It’s no laughing matter, really.