The Green Police

Monday, February 8th, 2010

So I’m wondering how many people saw the commercial below last night and not only didn’t find it farcical, satirical or horrifying, but were kind of okay with what they were seeing.

Maybe it’s my nutty libertarianism kicking in, but I actually initially thought it was some sort of PSA. Something like, “Do you part now, so it doesn’t have to get to this later.”

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

74 Responses to “The Green Police”

  1. #1 |  jppatter | 

    I think that in a few years we will look back on this ad and say “wow, if only the government was that restrained”. Sigh.

  2. #2 |  Geoff | 

    Hmmmmmmm. Everything points to a joke in this commercial: the green shorts wearing goofball mall cops, Disco Stu in a thong getting chased, the aardvark(?) on a leash, but then the punchline creates the confusion. It’s only funny if the product is the OPPOSITE of green- say a Hummer flattening a Segway for example. You can’t make fun of a police green state, and then say, “My product fits in with this world vision”. They either missed their own joke or they aren’t joking. Either way they suck.

  3. #3 |  poetry | 

    Geoff makes a good point. I saw the commercial with a group of my friends, after which some of them started talking about what a “good idea” the whole green-cop thing was. So, maybe Audi was joking, but my friends didn’t get it. They were ready to jump on the police-state bandwagon. And that’s scary.

  4. #4 |  Max | 

    Definitely felt the same way, even my dad was like, “that’s stupid.”

  5. #5 |  Leonson | 

    Driving an Audi will give you a pass in the coming eco-facist state.

    It was satire, but too close to reality. I’m sure there are some eco-facists that thought it looked great.

    My problem with the commercial was less the content and more the message. I thought it was a weird way to try and sell a car.

  6. #6 |  Matt | 

    THe ending was semi funny but the rest is a disturbing thought..

  7. #7 |  beakerj | 

    A fortelling of the future…except the part where the green cop arrests the regular cop. No way that happens…

  8. #8 |  Bee | 

    We had to back up and look more closely to identify the anteater. WTF? And yeah, there was much laughing at the commercial. My homies here in CA are incandescent rebels.

  9. #9 |  Athena | 

    “I turned to my wife and said “Hey, look! Seattle!””

    Nuh-uh! Everybody knows we don’t do it unless California does it first.

    Seriously, though, I was absolutely repulsed… and I’m the co-founder of a sustainability consulting firm. (In my defense, I would like to note that I am the quality/economic balance to my partner’s green fervor. She’s a socialist, too. I’m really not sure how we make it work most days.)

    Part of the reason I signed on for starting this company is because I truly believed, “If we do it voluntarily now, the government won’t force us to later.” I don’t think that’s true, though, and I’m kinda freaked out about it.

    …and, yeah, Seattle’s approaching that vision at what feels like a break-neck pace. :(

  10. #10 |  Kahomono | 

    Know what, your libertarianism is fine as long as it’s just your little corner of the world you’re screwing.

    But when you get your panties all up in a twist about being pushed to live greener, you’re peeing in MY pool too now. And my kids’. So go read your Ayn Rand but quit exhaling, K?

  11. #11 |  You! Slow Down! | 

    I’m kind of surprised to see comments reading the ad as an endorsement of nanny state environmental extremism. I saw it as clearly taking a jab at environmental nanny statism while at the same time promoting a capitalist answer – driving a big car that happens to be clean burning diesel. The ad looked to me like it was giving the big middle finger to runaway nanny statism. Individuals driving cars are inherently freedom-promoting even if said cars are “green”.

  12. #12 |  wheeler | 

    my first thought was “hmm, how is the drug war less ridiculous than the green police.” still not sure.

  13. #13 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Who are the Green Police?

    Thanks to FZ for that paraphrase.

  14. #14 |  markm | 

    So does Audi claim to have the particulate emission problem with diesels licked? (Diesels do well in Europe because they allow more particulates than we do.) Or are they implying they’ll bribe the Green Police on your behalf?

  15. #15 |  Kahomono | 

    –9 and proud, in this echo chamber.

  16. #16 |  Uncephalized | 

    @markm #64 I believe most new-generation diesels have far lower NOx emissions than older ones, and particulates are down partly just from the TDI tech, which uses direct injection (hence the “DI”) and I believe burns more completely. So in essence, yes, both VW/Audi and Mercedes have largely solved (or at least reduced) this problem in recent years.

    @Kahomono #60 I agree. This comment thread is full of a pretty disgusting level of “I don’t give a shit how my actions affect anyone else, I’ll pollute if I want to”. (Absolute) libertarianism is not a tenable position in world that has not eliminated externalities. And the externalities from driving a car are huge–CO2 and other exhaust-based emissions including several known carcinogens, rubber and VOC emissions from tire wear, noise, smell, the monopolization of public space otherwise usable for human living space, the fact that every mile you drive increases your lifetime likelihood of killing someone other than yourself with your car.

    All of this is not even mentioning the fact that industries like the auto industry and many others flourish on externalizing their costs onto populations who are not their customers, such as the inhabitants of third-world nations who have to deal with the environmental destruction wreaked by the incessant need for more raw materials and fuel. Exploitation of these environments and their inhabitants’ cheap labor is in large part what makes cars (and gas) affordable to you as a (I presume American) consumer. This is not libertarianism–the people being shafted by our consumption were not consulted or given a free choice in the matter, and the planet does not have a voice unless people stand up to give it one. It is parasitic exploitation of a finite set of resources that by rights belong to everyone, including future people, but is instead being disproportionately and unsustainably sucked dry by a small fraction of the world’s current population.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have no interest in raiding your home for improperly-recycled batteries or policing your composting habits. I just want to live in a society where everyone’s personal economic decisions reflect their true cost–which is to say, that gallon of gas you or I consume reflects the cost to the world of mitigating the damage it does, or where the price of your new car reflects the cost to the manufacturer of assuming responsibility for taking it back and recycling its materials into new vehicles at the end of its life. Make all the bad environmental decisions you want, as long as the people and ecosystems you are harming are properly compensated for your careless choices.

  17. #17 |  jsabotta | 

    There is a Customer Relations email for Audi at their website. Why not email them and give them some feedback?

    I wrote:

    “Dear Krauts:

    “RE: Your Green Police ad campaigns”

    “The Germans never learn, do they? Please take your Green Police, your overpriced Nazi cars (including all variations of the Strength-through-Joy Wagen) and your ecofascist ad campaigns back to the Fatherland from whence they came. There you can lurk in your gloomy forests, brooding on the ingratitude of der lesser races. If you ever feel inclined to do more than brood, please remember what happened to you 1944-45.”

  18. #18 |  jsabotta | 

    The Krauts reply:

    “Thank you for contacting Audi of America on the subject of our
    commercial in this year’s Super Bowl.

    Every Super Bowl brings with it advertising that takes a humorous slant,
    engages in hyperbole and presents viewers with wry storylines. And it
    is in that spirit that Audi presented its tongue-in-cheek Green Car
    commercial. Any attempt to read more into our ad strains the bounds of credulity.

    We believe it is possible to agree that we all try to do the right thing
    in our daily lives to measure our use of resources, no matter where we
    fall on the political spectrum. Our Super Bowl ad was simply making the
    point that driving an A3 TDI, the 2010 Green Car of Year, is one of
    those right things to do.”


  19. #19 |  Kahomono | 

    jsabotta: You got a kiloparsec more courtesy from them than you deserved in response to that amazingly offensive email.

  20. #20 |  wow | 

    Wow. I’ve got no problem with the nanny-state reigning in corporations but I have a serious problem with it reigning in people (you know, like people-people, Greasslob Antonin).

    Yah, so I found this so unbelievably horrifying that it had the precise opposite effect of the commercial’s intent. The wild thing though is that apparently there are enough guys watching the superbowl for whom this sort of commercial is likely to work! But who ar they?!?

    They aren’t NoCal Swipples and they aren’t women so…who? Guys who want to impress women? The legendary gay football fans? who?

  21. #21 |  jsabotta | 

    Kahomono is no doubt proud owner of a Strength-through-Joy Wagen.

  22. #22 |  jsabotta | 

    Mr. “kahomono” takes libertarians to task for “screwing” the world with their bad car and recycling. But he also refers to “my kids” – and having kids is a lot worse for the environment than any car choice or personal garbage disposal method could be, if you believe the kind of nonsense he believes.

    So, in order to be consistant, shouldn’t Kahomono duct-tape his kids into a big cardboard box and dump them into the bay? Typically, though, econazis like Kahomono want other people’s kids to die.

  23. #23 |  Mel | 

    I actually thought the commercial was funny. I don’t condone Audi for their creative efforts, atleast there taking steps towards going green.

  24. #24 |  jsabotta | 

    Feeling that this was more than I could stand– in fact,
    having reached a point where I was beginning to feel physically
    sick– 1 got up and hurriedly left the room. As I was
    approaching the closet where I had seen the maid store my
    things, Mrs. Hall overtook me, together with a billow of
    distant music.
    “Must you leave?” she said. “Must you really leave?”
    I found my overcoat, dropped the hanger, and stamped into
    my rubbers.
    “You are either murderers or fools,” I said, “or both, and
    that man is a filthy German agent.”

    – Vladimir Nabokov, CONVERSATION PIECE, 1945