Video: New Anti-Guzzler Greenpeace Ad

Greenpeace UK has just released a new video ad about SUVs in urban areas. "Using the language, style and production values of traditional car adverts, the film challenges the image portrayed by the advertising industry of 4x4 drivers escaping their urban environment for the freedom of the open road. Greenpeace took advice from advertising industry insiders before producing the film." Some might find the video a bit over the top, but considering that the auto industry spends more on marketing (especially for SUVs) than almost all other industries combined and that their adverts are often just as over the top in the opposite direction, we think it's only fair. You can watch the video here, download it here and read the Greenpeace press release plus some background info on the advert below.The video was directed by Ben Sedley through the production Company Home Corp, and produced by Lara Schachat. A report recently published by Greenpeace, entitled ‘OFF ROAD CAR – ON ROAD MENACE’ and written by Dr Peter Wells of Cardiff University’s world renowned automotive research centre, reveals that many of the SUVs on Britain’s roads:

  • Consume around 300% more fuel than an efficient family car
  • Pump out 300% more climate changing gasses and other pollutants
  • Are three times more likely to kill a pedestrian than an ordinary passenger car

Here is the press release:

Wednesday July 19th 2006

NEW GREENPEACE AD SLAMS GAS GUZZLERS

Film subverts TV tactics - BAFTA actress gives support

As the Motor Show opens and Britain bakes in soaring temperatures that the Met Office say might be linked to climate change, Greenpeace has launched a new film targeting gas guzzling 4x4s. Using the language, style and production values of traditional car adverts, the film challenges the image portrayed by the advertising industry of 4x4 drivers escaping their urban environment for the freedom of the open road. Greenpeace took advice from advertising industry insiders before producing the film.

The advert satirises the aspirational images and glossy marketing used by motor manufacturers to encourage car drivers to purchase an urban 4x4. In the film a city employee encounters distain from his fellow employees, but only at the end of the film does the viewer learn why – he owns a city gas guzzler. The ad ends with the line, ‘What does your car say about you?’

The film urges car buyers to think about the consequences of their choices and not be suckered by car industry advertising. In 2004 alone Ford spent over £18 million in the UK marketing Land Rovers as glamorous products for town and country. The company spent £3.2 million on marketing the vehicles to Londoners. Publicity material for the new Range Rover Sport boasts, ‘On-road it is astounding. There has never been a Land Rover so focused on awesome tarmac performance.’ This year’s motor show will see the launch of the first right-hand drive Hummer. Based on a war-fighting assault vehicle, the Hummer’s size and fuel consumption will make it a deadly addition to the fleet of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) on the roads of our cities.

Last year Greenpeace occupied the Range Rover assembly line in Solihull, shutting it down for a day. For several months, Greenpeace volunteers have been clamping 4x4s with cardboard clamps, putting leaflets under windscreen wipers and fixing fake tax discs to windscreens that call for extra road tax for gas guzzling vehicles. One of the targeted cars belonged to Thandie Newton. Now BAFTA-winning Thandie has sold her BMW 4x4 and replaced it with a hybrid car. The star of ‘Crash’ has also written to dozens of other celebrities suggesting they think about doing the same.

Thandie Newton said: ‘As you know, extreme weather events are on the increase. Climate change, which is largely brought on by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, seriously threatens generations to come. That’s why I swapped my SUV for a fuel efficient Toyota Prius. I hope this film from Greenpeace will persuade others to do the same.’

John Sauven, Greenpeace communications director, said: ‘Confronting the car advertising industry has never been more important. As climate change threatens our existence on this planet we cannot let the advertisers off the hook. Showing images of urban 4x4s driving across an arctic wilderness is insane given that the polar ice caps are melting due to the inefficient use of fossil fuels. We need to challenge head on the language and images that make 4x4s attractive, exposing the reality when you get behind the wheel. That’s what this film is about.’

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