Single-use plastic product makers took fire from an unusual source during this year's Super Bowl game commercials from German carmaker Audi AG for a clean diesel vehicle. The Green Police ads took aim at plastic grocery bags, PET water bottles and polystyrene cups all with the aim of promoting environmental attributes of the Audi A3 TDI.
The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council was quick to respond, with a news release and Web site prepared in advance of the airing.
Audi's Green Police campaign goes to the extreme to make a compelling point: We all can make choices every day to help the environment in the cars we drive, the products we buy and the way we use them, ACC said on the Web site, GreenPolice Confused.com.
And while an anteater sniffing out an environmental faux pas is funny, the tongue-in-cheek ads also demonstrate the shortcomings of using conventional wisdom to make choices regarding the environment particularly when it comes to plastics.
In an e-mail sent prior to the Super Bowl game, Jennifer Killinger, senior director of sustainability and public outreach at ACC's Plastics Division, said the trade group will evaluate additional response measures relative to the amount of traction the campaign gets and the level of interest it generates in plastics.
Will the ad generate anti-plastics sentiment or interest in the Audi's clean diesel technology?
Bob Garfield, a popular ad critic with Advertising Age magazine, gave the Audi spot 31/2 stars, tied for the No. 1 spot among this year's commercials.
Garfield wrote: The Green Police, overzealously tracking your carbon footprint. Very funny, for all the obvious reasons.
And the Audi turbo-diesel is a fine-looking Get Out of Jail Free car(d).
But humor is a matter of taste, and the Audi ad wasn't universally praised by critics.
Tribune Media Service's Zap2it.com included the ad on its list of worst commercials from Super Bowl 2010, noting: We care about the environment. Really. What we don't care for? Being preached to in the unfunniest way during the Super Bowl. Audi's clean diesel variant TDIs seem pretty damn cool fuel-efficient and sporty. Too bad the commercial was anything but cool.
The ads shows politically correct Green Police arresting unsuspecting users of plastic T-shirt bags, PET water bottles and polystyrene foam drinking cups as well as other presumed environmental bandits.
For its part, ACC's response Web site highlights the energy savings that plastics make possible vs. competing materials plus a video that features the innovative uses of plastics throughout the Audi A3 TDI.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.