Friday, July 29, 2011

Greenpeace has paid for a Volkswagen ad

The company thanks

Two days ago, James Delingpole discussed the topic how the environmentalists abuse little children. I agree with his important words but let me look at it from another perspective.

During communism, Czech carmaker Škoda managed to export some cars to the U.K. They were cheap but viewed as the ultimate parodies of cars so the brand was the main target of uncountable British Škoda jokes (Google search).

Volkswagen bought the company in 1991 and the ugly duckling became a pretty and competitive swan. Škoda arguably preserves some edge over the parent company, largely because of the continuing lower salaries in Czechia - which isn't necessarily the only reason. The efforts of some top VW managers - arguably driven by nationalism - to keep Škoda confined to the low-end, cheap part of the market are not necessarily working.

The Britons have noticed the change in the quality, the sales are growing very quickly. The parent company, VW, is doing very well relatively to the world competition, too. And some of the British perhaps want to compensate their previous (deserved) dismissal of the brand so Škoda is enthusiastically praised and doing really well, not only in the U.K., these days.

Great Britain is also the place where the best Škoda commercials were created. Four years ago, British movie makers created this "Škoda cake car" ad:

It's creative and sweet. Maybe too sweet. You may ultimately be oversweetened and some consumers don't like the sweet stuff, anyway. So one year ago, another Škoda ad was born in the U.K. It tries to sell "mean green" Škoda Fabia vRS.

The characters in this ad are kind of mean. And they are also somewhat supernatural. But the commercial supplemented the Škoda brand with a new flavor.

What about the parent company, Volkswagen, "das Auto"? Do they also have a "mean green" commercial that promotes their products in a similar way? You bet. It's here. It's called "VW Dark Side":

The similarity with the previous "mean green" Škoda ad is striking, especially the moment when the devil fights with the angry car - in both commercials. The most funny thing about the Volkswagen ad is that it wasn't paid by Volkswagen at all. This incarnation of the "mean green" ad was paid for by the "mean greens" themselves! :-)

Volkswagen realizes that CO2 reductions threaten the industry. So via their and BMW's and Chrysler's and Ford's lobby group in the U.S., Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, they ran some ads in the U.S. against Obama-like anti-CO2 plans. Listen to audio only.

And Greenpeace now wants to suggest that this should lead you to the consumers' decision to avoid their products. It's very funny because this is exactly a reason why a rational person would be intrigued by those products.

When Škoda and Greenpeace pay for two nearly identical ads and one of them thinks that it helps the carmaker while the other thinks it hurts him, at least one of them has to be wrong! :-) Who is it?

Greenpeace must be extremely naive if they think that this ad hurts VW. They must think that you hurt a company or a person if say that the company is a devil with horns. Or if you make it explode by pressing a red button. ;-) But the world is a little bit more complicated than what the little Greenpeace brains are capable of comprehending. A similar ad may only discourage a person who isn't buying cars, anyway. Right now, she is hanging in between some treetops in the Bohemian Forest, attached by ropes.

It doesn't mean that Volkswagen and the other brands it owns don't produce any products that are meant to be likable from Greenpeace's perspective. For example, Škoda has its own Green Line - which also has many commercials.

Besides pollution in which this car was the cleanest one on the market, the company also tried to reduce CO2 emissions - which is ultimately not too different from the increase of fuel efficiency, anyway. But of course, this Green Line is just one line of the products and not necessarily the most important one. A car company would have to be suicidal - or hoping to get a big chunk of subsidies - if it actively wanted to stop the production of cars with finite, nonzero CO2 emissions.

Apologies that I can't increase the quality of the text above - a missing comfortable keyboard and spellcheck...

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