The Mindful Merchant

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Controversial Car Commercial February 11, 2010

Have you seen the controversial Audi commercial aired during Super Bowl XLIV this past weekend?   I had not until I read the blog Retro Housewife Goes Green by Lisa Sharp. She provides a sample of different complaints and opinion.  Click here for a good read.

And now for your viewing pleasure….


My first reaction was to laugh.  It is a funny car commercial.  Despite my passion for environmental issues and conservation, I think it is important to keep a sense of humour and laugh at yourself once and a while.

Some of the comments that follow the video  and response to other articles floating around the internet are  disturbing and surprising.  I did not realize there was such hatred or fear for environmental action that (seems to) tie into right wing politics like this goodie from You Tube.  “Europe is becoming more and more anti leftist by the day and America is sliding into fascism. The world is turned upside down!”  

The bottom line is that Audi is trying to sell cars.  They are certainly receiving a lot of attention from this video. A marketing success?  It will not win over any green skeptics though…

What do you think?


19 Responses to “Controversial Car Commercial”

  1. Finola Says:

    I didn’t get to see ANY superbowl commercials even though I had to watch the boring dumb football game itself. We were staying with my Dad and he was so proud of himself that we could watch a PVR’d National Geographic episode during the commercials. He missed the whole point, I’m afraid, and he laughed out loud when I told him that I would now have to go watch all the SB commercials on YouTube 🙂

    I liked this commercial and I really like the move toward more funny advertising as opposed to those commercials that take themselves so seriously, and your whole life is going to fall apart if your kitchen floor isn’t sparkling. I think the attention will help Audi, but I agree with you that it won’t win over people who are anti-green. But if diesel is more economical, then maybe they will buy it anyway, but I’m not sure if that is the case….

  2. I didn’t watch the football game at all. 😦 I decided not to link or print some of the angry comments that I stumpled upon in my search because many of them were abusive and scary. How interesting that a car commercial can spur on such outrage against green folks? I totally agree with you about funny advertising…I prefer it too.

  3. I think you know my views hehe. Thanks for the link.

  4. Dan Boise Says:

    I’ll admit, it was funny, however when the commercial started playing I was like: what is this supposed to be about? It was great overall, but there was 50 useless seconds that has nothing to do with the car.

  5. XUP Says:

    I think you have to be careful in a public forum when you mock something that already has a whole faction of antagonists. No matter how funny or well-meaning it might be a “little racial joke” is not okay; a “sexist” joke is not okay; a homosexual joke is not okay; a Jewish joke is not okay. In the same way, this ad is not okay. It stirs up a lot of hatred and fear among the right-wing and directs a lot of hatred toward “environmentalists”. And, being a car company right away aligns them with the anti-environmentalists. It’s too bad we live in a world where something like taking care of the planet creates such conflict.

    • Based on the surprising right wing hostile/angry responses (on the internet) to the commercial I now see your point. As funny as I found it – you are right that it seems to give some folks energy fuelling hateful ideas. How sad…

  6. Pauline Says:

    I think many people will take this for what it is-a joke. But like XUP mentioned, there are quite a few ignorant, selfish and small-minded people out there who actually think that “global warming is a liberal conspiracy” and that its all an “evil trend”. They might take this ad seriously and think that it actually confirms all their crazy notions.

    But I guess advertisers have to make ads a little bit more zany to capture the public’s attention.

  7. I couldn’t help but laugh! And without having put any more thought into it, I could watch it again and still laugh.

    It honestly does sometimes feel like there are “green police” but also “pregnancy police” (ex.: people who will stop a pregnant woman and advise her that she should not be drinking coffee) and “parenting police” (ex.: people who make clear and harsh judgement on parenting practices which I see as rather benign in the long-run, such as CIO or formula-feeding). All these “police” come from well-intentioned places, but can sometimes go too far.

    I’m not sure I see the connection between poking fun at the environmental movement and telling racist jokes. I guess I’ll have to think about that one a bit more.

  8. XUP Says:

    Julie – Because telling racist jokes engenders and legitimizes racist attitudes by making it all a funny, harmless thing. In the same way mocking environmentalists, especially by making them look like fascists, gives people permission to vent their hatred on anyone with a “green” agenda. A couple of years ago some environmentalist activists in Russia were been beaten (one to death). In many other parts of the world including the US and Canada, environmentalists are seen as some sort of threat to freedom and democracy by the right wing in the same way they see anyone with brown skin or anyone who loves someone of the same sex as a threat to freedom and democracy. They don’t need another excuse to spew their virulent hatred. And making jokes like this in such a public forum only engenders and legitimizes their position.

  9. Finola and Mindful Merchant – Sorry, been reading too much of a certain local blog, where CIO is “cry it out” and is apparently extremely harmful and terrible and abusive. I’m waiting for her to call the CAS on me. 😉

    XUP – Thanks for explaining your view. I do think it’s a bit extreme though — “virulent hatred”? Or maybe I am just too sheltered in my left-ish world here. I think it’s a case of “greens” laughing a bit at themselves. It’s a North American car ad, isn’t it? And a huge majority of North American is on-board and acting with voluntary environmental consciousness … litterless lunches, recyling, hybrid cards etc.

    • Ahhh – Cry it out. You won’t believe all the odd words I tried to match to the letters ie “Cut it out” – or “‘Candy Is Optional” lol Thanks Julie.

      • Finola Says:

        Thanks Julie! And I’m all for CIO. My girls are fabulous sleepers (now), and they are also relatively happy and well adjusted IMOHO. 🙂

  10. Candy Is Optional! haha! That’s good! 🙂

    p.s. I’ve added a new Blogroll subcategory of “Living Green” and put your blog on it. (so all three of my readers might visit your site now!)

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