By the Way You Look Fantastic in Your Car of Audi Plastic

Michael Giberson

Audi said its “Green Police” commercial, shown during the Super Bowl, was meant to be funny.  Turns out that neither the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, nor at least some environmentalists, were amused.  I found the ad annoying – I’m not sure why – but anything that can unite the American Chemistry Council with at least some environmentalists has something going for it, right?  (More on the ad controversy at USA Today.)

The folks at the chemistry council set up a response website, Green Police Confused, pointing out how the extensive use of plastic in the Audi A3 TDI helped the car win the “2010 Green Car of the Year” award at the LA Auto Show.  Now that’s funny.

For your viewing pleasure, first the Audi ad and then a celebration of the plastics in Audi’s “Green Car of the Year”:

HT to Tom Fowler, indispensable at NewsWatch: Energy.

9 thoughts on “By the Way You Look Fantastic in Your Car of Audi Plastic

  1. I thought the ad was funny – maybe the funniest of the SB ads. I see why the linked enviros are PO’d, but do they have to make a kind of reverse Godwin argument.

    I don’t think they were mocking plastics as much as mocking the way society treats them. I kind of read the ad as mocking society’s focus on the wrong things and following the wrong track while trying to become “green.”

    As for the car itself…I went to England last summer, and was surprised by the number and variety of turbo diesel cars I saw there – much better mileage. When I came back, I wondered why we don’t see more here. I guess they are starting to make inroads in the US (VW and now Audi), but apparently is has something to do with the emissions standards (primarily in CA and on the East Coast). I even considered buying a TDI Jetta, and may still do so this year if my personal economic volatility settles down.

  2. “I went to England last summer, and was surprised by the number and variety of turbo diesel cars I saw there – much better mileage.”

    Diesels have about a 25% advantage in gross mileage over gas. About half of that is due to the higher density of diesel fuel and half is due to the high compression ratios used by diesel engines. The latter is offset in higher prices for heavier equipment, and by dirtier exhaust, which requires more expensive pollution control equipment.

    My understanding is that European countries tax diesel less heavily than gasoline. In the US, diesel and gasoline are taxed about the same and diesel is often more per gallon than gas. This removes the economic advantage to buying diesel in the US.

  3. I absolutely hated the commercial and thought it might be an new jobs program from the EPA…

    It is only a matter of time until Radley Balko has to add incandescent bulbs to his beat.

  4. It was disconcerting because its take on ‘Dream Police’ being ‘Green Police’ was directionless, empty of dramatic tension, and cost upwards of $10m to film and place, which is the exact opposite of the frugality and sensibility you might hope you get throwing down $30-140k on an Audi.
    Contrawise it could irritate because of counterincentives for police to make informed arrests, citations, etc.; what if each case was non-infringing, why no objections, no evidence recorded, etc. It made police look cheap! (Well, some police.)

    LOL dirtier diesel. Un-bloody-likely. Complaining you get lampblack instead of sludge and lampblack (plus the deionized water and CO2?)

  5. Come and think of it, if I’m ‘on laser’ (didn’t ask to see) doing 15 over 25mph, half a block-width from my street, do I file an objection of some sort with my $120 (or go see the judge), or pay with thanks and try to fund mass transport licensed and vetted at 100m/s?

  6. I thought Jonah Goldberg’s comments on the “Gorewellian” Audi ad were worth reading:

    For example, this quote:

    “Audi’s ad not only fails to invest the greens with moral authority, it concedes that the carbon cops are out of control and power-hungry (in a postscript scene, the Green Police pull over real cops for using Styrofoam cups). But, because resistance is futile when it comes to the eco-Borg, you might as well get the best car you can.”

  7. I thought it was a bizarre commercial. What demographic would watch that and then think, “Ah, the Audi is the answer for me”?

    Plus it was annoying. They made their (cynical and ignorant) point 10 seconds into the ad, but then they just kept hammering and hammering the same refrain … I thought it was tedious and kind of insulting.

    Besides I never liked that Cheap Trick song, so I would’ve been annoyed no matter what.

    It did, however, confirm one thing for me; the anti-green backlash is gaining momentum.

  8. I think that was what annoyed me, they made their point quickly but then gave us the same gag over and over in slightly different ways. That plus the stupidity with which some of the gags were presented.

    For example, if you can get arrested for choosing a plastic grocery bag, why is the grocery store offering the option? Either the grocery chain is part of a vast underground conspiracy to smuggle low-environmental impact plastic bags to similarly rebellious customers, or the store is engaged in entrapment. Giving the rapidity of the “green police” response, I smell entrapment.

    I wonder, when everyone stops talking about how half-clever, off-putting, unfunny, annoying and stupid the Audi ad was, what subconscious association will linger for the Audi brand. I’m guessing: “Audi: The car for people who aren’t as clever as they think they are.”

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