01.31.2010 0

Art imitating life or vice versa?

  • On: 02/18/2010 09:35:34
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • By Michael Swartz

    When a company devotes millions of dollars to the production and airing of a Super Bowl ad, they are at the mercy of several factors – one of those being an exciting game if you happen to have a spot airing in the fourth quarter.

    We all know that the game itself came down to a late interception returned for a touchdown to secure the New Orleans Saints’ victory; fortunately for Audi this occurred after their commercial aired. For all the pregame talk about the pro-life ad sponsored by Focus on the Family and featuring the mother of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, the “green police” commercial sponsored by Audi may have the most lasting impact.

    The ad opens with an innocuous transaction at a grocery store where the cashier cheerfully asks, “Will that be paper or plastic?” When the hapless customer answers “plastic” he’s rudely greeted by an officer from the “green police” who advises the customer, “you picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem, plastic boy!” From there, numerous people run afoul of the law for having batteries in the trash, throwing away an orange rind (a “compost infraction”), possession of incandescent light bulbs and plastic water bottles, and having the temperature of their hot tub too high. The only escapee is the one driving the sponsor’s diesel-powered car at the “eco checkpoint.” Even the classic rock band Cheap Trick redid their 1970’s song “Dream Police” into “Green Police” for the spot.

    Great humor works because it has an element of truth in it, and this commercial reflects a number of moves already made by government. Indeed, traditional incandescent light bulbs will be going away after next year due to government edict and several regions of the globe ban the use of plastic grocery bags. Nanny staters constantly proclaim society needs to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

    So far, though, America hasn’t gotten to the point where we have the government snooping through our garbage for contraband non-recyclable material or uniformed officers breaking into our backyards to check the temperature of the hot tub. But the spot is believable because we now can’t dismiss the possibility given the cap and trade legislation slowly seeping its way through Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency’s willingness to take advantage of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling allowing them to regulate carbon dioxide to promulgate new restrictions on commerce and daily life, all in the name of combating so-called manmade climate change.

    It’s this climate fear that Audi plays to with their ad, on both sides. For those who believe they should do more to save the planet, the car is sold as an eco-friendly mode of transportation. On the other hand, those who are skeptical about our impact on the climate but believe the way of the future may well be reflected in the commercial might be persuaded to buy one simply to be left alone.

    Obviously Audi is attempting to sell cars with this Super Bowl ad just as other sponsors pushed online services, beer, or snack food. While the vast majority of these ads were written and produced to be humorous in some sly way or another, the Audi spot will have a longer-lasting impact for its product because this humor made the consumer think.

    Many found it funny only because it stretched what we believe into something of a tall tale. It’s when the tall tale becomes reality that the spot loses its humor, and in the coming decade we may see the Audi ad as prophetic of how society evolved.

    Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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