Volkswagen, Blue Motion, the Carbon footprint, and eco-branding

These past few days, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time behind the wheel, which got me thinking about auto advertising in today’s environment, and then I recalled some ads I’ve seen recently for Volkswagen’s “BlueMotion,” their new “low emissions” system. The print ad is clever, simple, and effective. And I think it speaks to “car people” and the not-so-automotively-inclined equally. and the jumper cables made me laugh.


The television spots, by DDB London, are beautifully simple. The soundtracks are spot-on and the art direction is impressive. (full credits on the YouTube pages)

I know the “eco” branding and greenification of the automotive industry is a hot topic for many at the moment, which is why I’m going to circumvent that discussion at the moment. And as unfortunate as it is, advertising and marketing here in the US is significantly different than on the other side of the Atlantic. Here, the closest to green eco marketing is Kermit the Frog singing about being green [commercial here via youtube]. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, I can’t really imagine mainstream advertising in the US discussing carbon footprints right now. The GE Ecomagination campaign I mentioned back during the Super Bowl comes close and is similarly beautifully executed, but consumer reception and the ads’ impact have been less than optimal. It’s a sad position to be in, but there’s a glimmer of hope in these. I’m not saying BlueMotion is the solution, or even a good way to attack the problem. I’m just saying that seeing the problem discussed is a good thing. Better than anything else happening (or not) at the moment.

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