There were a number of tremendously stupid/inane/disgusting/unfunny commercials during yesterday's excellently played Super Bowl, but Audi's A3 TDI "Green Police" spot stood out from the rest. No commercial was as insulting, irresponsible, and potentially damaging as the German automaker's 60-second ad. Well done, Audi.
I've always liked the A3, and think a greener, TDI version is awesome--hell, I'd even consider buying one--but I couldn't have been more disappointed with the ad. Audi's spot makes environmentalists seem like fascists,1 and probably convinced millions of Americans that they're not to be taken seriously. The A3 TDI may very well be the "green car of the year", but Audi's commercial did far more harm than good. It completely patronizes thousands of individuals that are working (or volunteering) for a greater good, all in an effort to sell a car that may or may not be marginally better for the environment.2 At a time when environmental responsibility and "green living" seem to be reaching something of a tipping point, this was the last thing we needed.
I'm assuming the "creative" decisions behind the ad were the responsibility of a jackass-laden ad agency, but Audi had to ok the spot, and should bear the brunt of the responsibility. Regardless of who had the final say, it's clear that both companies shit the bed.
1 I promise this isn't a jab at Germany's, uh, checkered past. I read the description on ESPN and thought it captured my sentiment perfectly.
2 Marginally better than other new cars, not better than walking, cycling and taking public transportation.