The Green Police, They Live Inside My Head

Ashley Thorne

Last night, 106.5 million people watched the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl. They also watched an Audi commercial advertising its A3 TDI® which won the Green Car of the Year award for 2010. 

Set to the tune of “Dream Police,” the commercial is a series of “green police” crackdowns on bewildered citizens who request plastic bags at the grocery store (“You picked the wrong day to mess with the eco system plastic boy”), throw away a battery, soak in a hot tub set at 105 degrees, and are caught in possession of incandescent light bulbs. A helicopter turns a spotlight on a man, alone in his kitchen, who has begun to dispose of an orange peel. Two guilty-looking teenage boys hang their heads as a green cop pours out their water bottles: “What do you guys think about plastic bottles now?” The climactic moment comes during an “eco check” stopping up the highway, when the Segway-riding green police (accompanied by a special anteater unit to sniff out eco infractions) identify the Audi TDI: “Clean diesel—you’re good to go sir!” As the smiling driver zips away from the gridlock, the screen reads, “Green has never felt so right.”  

While Audi’s commercial clearly ridicules the coercive tactics of the environmental movement, in the end the good feeling comes, not from overthrowing the tyrannical green police (we also call them sustainabullies), but from satisfying their demands. Seemingly there’s a mixed message. The popular website Treehugger.com asked, “Is this all a fun way to get the message across or a cynical poke at environmentalists?” 

Audi’s website calls their green police “caricatures of today’s ‘green movement’” and “a humorous group of individuals that have joined forces in an effort to collectively help guide consumers to make the right decision when it comes to the environment.” Audi says, “They’re not here to judge, merely to guide these decisions.”  

Hmm...not here to judge? Just to arrest, browbeat, invade privacy, and impede personal choice? Oh, ok, well as long as they’re not here to judge. See for yourself: 

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