Super Bowl ads have a reputation of pushing the envelope artistically and strategically. Last night’s extravaganza certainly lived up to that billing, as Madison Avenue presented the brilliant and the baffling to a nation of viewers. One ad in particular stood out in the latter category, with many wondering whether it meant to entice people to buy the product — or to fear the end result of an overreaching government on environmental issues:
The ad works for me far better as a warning of an overreaching government dictating choices — like incandescent lightbulbs, paper vs plastic in the grocery store, and choice of cars. Audi may convince some people to look into its clean-diesel offerings, but the ad itself is likely to elicit more concern over the direction of regulatory efforts, especially at the EPA, which declared carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant last year and has started the effort to regulate manufacturing as a way to get around the legislative hurdles to cap-and-trade bills in Congress.
If the government really does intend on creating regulation over these kinds of choices, a “green police” will not be far behind, although not in the humorous style presented here. It will instead insert itself in home purchases, car choices, energy rationing, and in the use of private property. Government will pick the winners and losers rather than a free people making their own choices, and they will use the power of government to ensure that those winners prevail for the purposes of a governing elite.
I suspect, though, that Audi was aiming at a very narrow slice of the market — those people who can afford to buy an Audi and who want to achieve the sanctimony of the driver at the end. In that sense, it’s entirely successful. Bear in mind that it’s that narrow market that wants to impose the Green Police solution on the rest of us.
Update: The boss has background on Audi’s pandering to the enviros here.
Update II: Chad at Fraters Libertas had the same reaction to the Dodge Charger commercial as I did.