It ain’t so easy being green. Unless, of course, you buy a clean diesel from Audi.

That’s the message of this Audi A3 “Do Your Part” advert:

I get the idea: Show you can be environmentally responsible without having to put yourself out. You can have it all.

Here’s one point of view from @motorad666 on Twitter:

If ads are supposed to make you want to buy stuff, the Audi A3 Clean Diesel ads are working on me, and I should know better. Good work, VBP.

And the counterpoint from @markapennington:

bike riding: green. bus riding: green. buying an audi: not green. http://bit.ly/hD8TN Is this “green-jacking”?

Some might call this greenwashing because it implies driving a diesel is as good or better than riding the bus or a bike to work.

But this ad’s greatest offense is that it mocks its target audience. Was the Members Only jacket and tie for the guy on the Segway really necessary?

So what do you think? Is Audi’s “Do Your Part” ad is Responsible Marketing or not?

Comment below to weigh in.

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  • Lissa Boles says:

    I would love to hear Audi’s people respond to this one… That would really tell the tale.

    As much as it pains me to say this, everyone moves at different speeds – no pun intended – and not everyone ‘gets it’ to the degree that they’re willing to give up their sexy, high-performance speed-machine to do their part.

    Going cold turkey’s not for the faint of heart – in life or in business. Sometimes, it’s not smart either.

    I’d much rather see an Audi driver behind the wheel of a mondo machine that’s cut emissions to this degree than driving one that hasn’t – and let’s be honest: many Audi buyers are buying performance and status. And hasn’t Audi’s made status green here?

    Do I like how this ad portrays cyclists, transit users or Segway riders? No. But I’d very comfortably bet this demographic’s view of the outcomes of a green lifestyle choice is bang-on – and is what has them opt out of green choices.

    That said, when I come back to your question – is this green-jacking – I can’t help but wonder if it’s bridge-building? Knowing your consumer’s views and values well enough to know that doing what good you can while retaining consumer favor means providing product that helps them have their cake and eat it too – huh…

    In fact, this might be seen as a transitional and progressive option – a harder one in some ways. Appealing to both higher and lower nature simultaneously – not an easy line to walk. Nor a popular course of action with all-or-nothing hardliners.

    Sadly, holding hard lines can make needless enemies out of future friends and collaborators. I’m not a fan of greenwashers, but neither am I big fan of slapping those who’re genuinely engaged in real change either.

    Sometimes, small moves have those who think movement’s not possible participate in the moving of mountains (say that 3 times fast!). I keep hearing the line, ‘Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.’ from the late 90’s Jody Foster film Contact in my head.

    If this seems nuts, check out the Lazy Environmentalist’s, Josh Dorman’s, credo. He has a pretty interesting take on how to move the ‘unmoveable’ in the direction of the inevitable for the benefit of us all.

  • I believe this ad is NOT responsible and although I like to poke fun at the “sustainably conscious” as much as the next guy – this ad makes me think that Audi isn’t concerned with those people who “get it” – rather, they are targeting those who may secretly laugh at those who try to do their part.

    So I think this is a classic case of greenwashing.

    my 2 bits…

  • Great points…I think this commercial is effective because of the superior Audi styling. They are letting the consumer do their part to help the ecosystem, but don’t have to show off with a Prius. We can be more stealthy about it and drive an Audi.

  • mike gore says:

    i think this commercial is effective, but not responsible.

    effective: muscle appeal, power appeal, shows rising above but being equal in some terms

    not responsible: equation doesn’t add up. a bicycle with a single rider, when converting calories into gas power, gets ~3000 miles to the gallon. 42 mpg? child’s play in the world of efficiency.

    I equate this to smartwater’s message and campaigns- while yes, smart water does have electrolytes, it will not make you smarter, and you can find more electrolytes in tap water.

    I agree with greg-not targeted at well-versed, enviro-concious folks-more towards the fringe who want to make a difference, have the cash, and will feel good about their purchase.

    greenwashing? yep. but up to the consumer.

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