Another Electric Mobile Billboard: Green or Greenwash?


Image credit: Aardvarkel

It's Monday morning, and I am feeling cynical. So when I received a press release about a "green mobile marketing vehicle" that is 100% battery powered, I must admit I scoffed. Since when has driving around a billboard been anything but a waste of resources? (Kristin covered similar ground before on why 100% electric billboards are a waste of creative juices.) But as is often the case, I had to dial back my cynicism a little once I checked out the product. Here's why. First off, it goes without saying that if mobile billboards are going to exist anyway, it makes more sense to run them on electricity than on gas. These vehicles tend to be applied in low speed, urban settings, so they are in many ways ideally placed to apply battery technology. (Nobody reads a billboard if it is hurtling past at 80mph!)

Secondly, these things are actually much more than mere billboards. Looking at the website of Aardvarkel, the makers of the Aardy electric mobile marketing vehicle, many of the configurations of this thing actually do something, not just drive around in circles to attract eyeballs. You see they can actually carry product - and many of the configurations seem to be some kind of sample or selling booth designed for event marketing etc. (Which is inherently mobile anyway.)

So yes, if used locally—whizzing around a city to attend different events—this little number could indeed cut emissions. And if you are going to have a billboard drive around in circles anyway, then running it on electric makes sense. But my inner cynic is not entirely placated—the idea of using "specially designed Aardy™ trailers to cart them around the country" starts to look a little like greenwash to me.

Check out 5 other sort of green billboards for more marketing gray areas.

Tags: Economics | Electric Vehicles | Energy Efficiency | United States

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