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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  The environmentalists won. Now please go tell the environmentalists


The environmentalists won. Now please go tell the environmentalists

Posted on February 16, 2010 and read 1,722 times

The environmentalists won. Now please go tell the environmentalists thumbnail

marcstoiber The environmentalists won. Now please go tell the environmentalistsMarc Stoiber
VP of Green Innovation
Maddock Douglas

The Green Screen has the mandate to review the best communication for green products and services every month.

Usually, there are about five to ten good pieces to talk about. But this month, I thought I’d make an exception, and talk about just one ad.

Not just any ad. An ad that introduced green to mainstream America.

I am speaking, of course, of the Audi ‘Green Police’ spot that debuted at this year’s Super Bowl.

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The way that E*Trade’s barrage of irreverent Super Bowl spots signalled the rise of a new world order (well, until the bubble burst), the new Audi spot signalled a sea change. This spot reflects the growing sentiment that it’s OK to like football, have a sense of humor, and be green.

And it wasn’t just a signal. At about $2.8 million dollars per 30 second spot (the Audi ad was a minute long), the carmaker was betting big that this message would strike a chord.

A sure signal the spot did, in fact, work – the American Chemistry Council lashed out at the spot’s ‘takedown’ of someone choosing a plastic shopping bag, saying that plastic bags are indeed recyclable (tell that to the fish swimming through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). If this spot simply represented a lone voice in the back 40, the ACC certainly wouldn’t have seen the need for a rebuttal.

Ironically, however, the biggest hand-wringing came from the folks who should have celebrated the ad.

The New York Times said the spot put the ‘mental’ in ‘environmental’. Treehugger asked if it was a fun way to get a message out or ‘a cynical poke at environmentalists’. An enviro blogger named Adam Siegel likened the Green Police to the Ordnungspolizei, Nazi policemen who – by virtue of their green uniforms – were dubbed the Green Police.

Even David Roberts at Grist found it necessary to hyperanalyze the spot, first asking if it was in fact aimed at angry white men who wanted to make fun of environmentalists…then reversing his theory and deciding that the spot was just plain fun with a nice message.

I have never seen a group as uncomfortable with success as environmentalists. Folks, leave it alone. Like every good ad, it simply took an observation (‘go green without the big sacrifice’) and exaggerated it to the point of comedy. No more, no less.

In fact, if the spot ‘stands’ for anything, it stands for the mainstreaming of green – which is a good thing, I believe. Hey, it played during Super Bowl, which means it reached more people than most green campaigns ever will.

A few years ago this spot wouldn’t have been made, let alone screened at a cost of millions. Celebrate that fact. And put down that hyperanalyzer before someone gets hurt.

Marc Stoiber is the newly minted VP of Green Innovation at Maddock Douglas, a leading innovation agency headquartered in Chicago. Maddock Douglas is in the process of acquiring Marc’s firm Change. Change is a green branding and innovation firm founded by Stoiber in 2005.






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