February 8, 2010

The Super Bowl ads we didn’t get to see

Filed under: Environment, Football, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:29

At least, for Canadians watching the game on CTV, we didn’t get to see most of these ads, including Audi’s brief trip into the very near future:

Audi’s effort won both best and worst titles from the readers at the Wall Street Journal.

Update: Nick Gillespie also thought this ad to be quite noteworthy:

. . . the great ad in last night’s game was, IMO, the Audi “Green Police” spot, and not simply because it showcased a classic Cheap Trick tune to astonishingly great (read: totally nostalgic for late-era boomers who grew up thinking Robin Zander was cool and Bun E. Carlos was an animatron and Rick Nielsen was crazy funny and that Tom Petersson was, like Kurt Von Trapp in The Sound of Music or Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch, well, I don’t know but he must have done something to be there) advantage. No, it was also right up to the moment I realized that it was a pitch for a car that I will never purchase, it seemed like a Mike Judge vision of a future that is almost the present (finally, a reason to thank SCOTUS for flipping the coin toward George W. Bush in 2000).

Will it move cars? Who knows. It moves . . . minds. Which rarely come with the sort of 100,000 mile warranty that is standard even on overpriced, underpowered, and breakdown prone vehicles like Audis.

Some interesting comments to Nick’s post:

grrizzly|2.8.10 @ 9:04AM|#
Imagine a Holocaust movie. Jews are in concentration camps. Regularly sent to gas chambers. Suddenly one man receives documents proving he is not a jew. He’s set free. He walks away. Happy End.
This is what the ad is.

iowahawk|2.8.10 @ 9:10AM|#
I thought it was the best Super Bowl ad of all time, and not for the reasons Audi was hoping for. Hilarious, creepy and upbeat all at the same time. And the punchline: The sponsor (Audi) merrily approves of the dystopian fascism. My jaw hit the ground.

Enjoy Every Sandwich|2.8.10 @ 9:16AM|#
When I saw the ad I was thinking “this will give Al Gore a hard-on, assuming he still gets those”. It’s a left-wing dream world.

PM770|2.8.10 @ 11:20AM|#
Right. I think Audi probably owes Al one clean television.

Tulpa|2.8.10 @ 11:28AM|#
It’s called extremely skilled advertising. Give different messages to different target audiences, hopefully a message that makes them want to buy your product.
I looked at it and liked the (obviously ironic) portrayal of the Green Police, while your average lefty is saying “Yeah man, they should totally send swat teams to people’s houses looking for light bulbs!”

Update, 9 February: Added the tag GreenGestapo, as this appears to be trending in the blogosphere . . . I expect to have further use for the tag in the future.

Update, 2 February 2014: The original video has been removed, so here’s another link instead:

And Mark Steyn‘s original comments, recently republished:

A man asks for a plastic bag at the supermarket checkout. Next thing you know, his head’s slammed against the counter, and he’s being cuffed by the Green Police. “You picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem, plastic boy,” sneers the enviro-cop, as the perp is led away. Cut to more Green Police going through your trash, until they find … a battery! “Take the house!” orders the eco-commando. And we switch to a roadblock on a backed-up interstate, with the Green Police prowling the lines of vehicles to check they’re in environmental compliance.

If you watched the Super Bowl, you most likely saw this commercial. As my comrade Jonah Goldberg noted, up until this point you might have assumed it was a fun message from a libertarian think-tank warning of the barely veiled totalitarian tendencies of the eco-nanny state. Any time now, you figure, some splendidly contrarian type — perhaps Clint lui-même in his famous Gran Torino — will come roaring through flipping the bird at the stormtroopers and blowing out their tires for good measure. But instead the Greenstapo stumble across an Audi A3 TDI. “You’re good to go,” they tell the driver, and, with the approval of the state enforcers, he meekly pulls out of the stalled traffic and moves off. Tagline: “Green has never felt so right.”

So the message from Audi isn’t “You are a free man. Don’t bend to the statist bullies,” but “Resistance is futile. You might as well get with the program.”

Strange. Not so long ago, car ads prioritized liberty. Your vehicle opened up new horizons: Gitcha motor running, head out on the highway, looking for adventure. … To sell dull automobiles to people who lived in suburban cul de sacs, manufacturers showed them roaring round hairpin bends, deep into forests, splashing through rivers, across the desert plain, invariably coming to rest on the edge of a spectacular promontory on the roof of the world offering a dizzying view of half the planet. Freedom!

Update, 9 February, 2017: The original and revised video links have all gone sour, so here’s a current version of the ad, triggered by Audi’s latest Super Bowl ad fiasco.

Amusingly, the tag line shown at the end of the commercial, Audi: Truth in Engineering, is proven to be false by the company’s systematic cheating on emission testing software in their cars (being part of the Volkswagon group, where the cheating was first discovered in their diesel models).

In late 2015, Volkswagen Group became embroiled in an emissions cheating scandal that also involved its Audi brand. Delicious irony — here was a brand that had touted itself a leader in environmental stewardship only to be unmasked as a fraud of epic proportions.

As late as November 2016, new revelations about the extent of Audi’s emissions scam were still coming to light. It was revealed that the scandal was not limited to diesel-engine cars, as previously thought, but included gasoline-powered Audi models as well.

So it was a curious choice for Audi to pat itself on the shoulder for yet another politically correct stand — pay equality for women — when its credibility was torn to shreds in its core competency: automobile manufacturing. Perhaps Audi thought this would provide good cover from their credibility woes, or perhaps they banked on an inattentive public with amnesia. A pretty good bet, I admit. But I have a long memory and a nose for hypocrisy.

So what is the answer to George Clooney’s questions? What should he tell his daughter?

I would tell her (and mine) that once a person has lied to you, then you can no longer trust that person. That if the person is truly repentant, they will find a way to make it up to you and rebuild the trust. But if they they try to distract from the extent of their dishonesty, you might as well put that relationship in the junkyard.

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