• Jan 31st 2010 at 12:11PM
  • 31
Audi Green Police Campaign – Click above to watch the video after the break

Green Police... it's a concept that seems innocent enough at first glance, right? Apparently, though, Audi's use of the term "Green Police" has some people up in arms. We'll get to the why and how in a moment, but first, an explanation is in order. Audi has created a new social media campaign that will go along with a planned commercial during the Super Bowl, and the marketing will feature a made-up law enforcement agency called the Green Police.

A little kitschy, sure, but is it really that bad? Well, consider the fact that during World War II, the Green Police were a group that was affiliated with Nazi persecution and other mass atrocities, and, well... it's a bit easier to understand why some are taking offense. Especially as the marketing message comes from a German automaker. Naturally, though, we all get the joke, and it seems extremely unlikely that Audi is purposefully trying to ruffle any feathers.

In any case, feel free to click on past the jump to see one of the videos causing all the tension. What say you? Offensive... or much ado about nothing?

*UPDATE: Audi responds.

[Source: mediabistro.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      They can take all of this green crap and stick where the sun doesn't shine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I vote funny on this one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ridicule of the Green Movement.
        Funded by Audi or EXXON!
        - Why should Audi care if it builds Green Cars or Gas Guzzler Cars?
        Unless the upper branches of management are in FEAR of Losing a Gas-Guzzler-Incentive-Payment, it should be no problem for Audi to build Performance OR Efficient Cars.
        - The Fact that they are running ad's like a STUCK PIG pretty much shows that there are Under the Table Payments being made.
        a guy
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was so-so. I wouldn't call the ad "funny", but I also wouldn't be offended by it unless I was a Jewish man or woman who was not only alive during WW11, but lived in Germany and KNEW about the "Green Police". This ad was far from offensive, in my opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's funny! Time to quit making unsupported connections between everything and anything and WWII and the Germans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No it would be funny if it was any other Automaker, the fact that its a German automaker makes it hilarious.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I watched that ad three times. I see several things wrong with it.

      1. The word Police as used in this ad clearly refers to a civil organization whose members are given special legal powers by the government and whose task is to maintain public order and to solve and prevent crimes, Encarta Dictionary.
      2. The actor’s uniform shows a badge that appears to indicate legal authority. He speaks with an authorative tone.
      3. His warning at the end of the ad constitutes a threat of some sort of response to criminal activity if a person is in possession of more than one napkin.
      4. The term Green Police was used by the Nazi party to hunt down and kill persons of Jewish decent.

      As an Audi owner, I am appalled by this advertisement as it does not meet the definition of advertisement, it does however meet the definition of false advertisement. "Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities" (Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a)).
      To establish that an advertisement is false, a plaintiff must prove five things: (1) a false statement of fact has been made about the advertiser's own or another person's goods, services, or commercial activity; (2) the statement either deceives or has the potential to deceive a substantial portion of its targeted audience; (3) the deception is also likely to affect the purchasing decisions of its audience; (4) the advertising involves goods or services in interstate commerce; and (5) the deception has either resulted in or is likely to result in injury to the plaintiff. The most heavily weighed factor is the advertisement's potential to injure a customer. The injury is usually attributed to money the consumer lost through a purchase that would not have been made had the advertisement not been misleading. False statements can be defined in two ways: those that are false on their face and those that are implicitly false.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The nazi thing is lost on me, but I'm in my 30s and an white atheist so I have no connection to this issue. It seems dumb to make it one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      it could be a coincidence, if for instance it was made by a usa company that knew nothing of the grune polizei reference. I'm danish and I'd never heard of it. but it is at the very least unfortunate considering how obtuse the german automakers have been and still are in regards to electric drive. had Audi had a plugin drivetrain in all their models and very light weight very aerodynamics models with the world's best energy efficiency then it would have been funny, even with intentional reference to nazi police because then they would have the credibility to make fun of the green movement. but given their actual position on the matter, it is quite unfortunate to poke fun at the green movement and perhaps try to associate environmentalists with nazis. keep in mind what the super douche head of Audi north america said about electric cars..

      and even if there was no hint at nazi police it is at best an attempt to distract from their filthy cars..
      napkins? maybe Audi should be concerned with cars..

      I told you they are evil. shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone if you've watched 'who killed the electric car'. if you haven't now would be a good time
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm German and I think I can say that I'm pretty well educated from having history class for 7 years now. About one whole year of this time was spent solely for talking about the two world wars, especially the second one. We talked about pretty much every aspect of the Hitler regime. But I have never heard the term "grüne Polizei". I could bet, that even none of our history teachers have heard that term. Why should some Audi marketing experts at Audi know this term?
        We even have a political party called "Die Grünen", do you think they refer to the "Grüne Polizei"? They are one of the liberal ones and they stand out for being environmental-friendly. Almost nobody here (younger than 65 years) has even heard of that green police term.
        At your second point:
        Audi is very green, maybe not in hybrid cars, but have you heard about the A3? (99g/km; 3,8 l/100km) Thats more mileage than a hybrid prius gets and its even diesel(a lot cheaper in Europe).
        Don't be so narrow minded and think that only hybrids can be green!
        • 5 Years Ago
        xyz, yes I've heard of the A3. I take it you mean the 1.6L TDI. I've also heard of Audi A2. and no Audi is anything but green. that's like saying Dick Cheney is a pacifist because he's only started two wars and killed 1½ million people. it's not about hybrid. I know diesel cars often have better mileage than a prius (even though you can't quite compare diesel and gasoline) but the prius is not a green car either. not even close. it's a gas car. the only merit of the prius is the right direction it points. electric drive. plugin to be specific.
        it has to be battery drive. it has to be very light (less than half the weight of an A3) and it has to be very aerodynamic. then it's green. Audi is not green. you may want to close your eyes but that doesn't change the truth.
        only light weight aerodynamic plugins are green. Audi has none and they are fighting tooth and nail to avoid it. despite their bs about the e-tron. why would they talk about the e-tron if they were already "very green"... wakey wakey. this thing called global warming... comes from massive use of fossil fuel. like Audis.. come on people. wake the fuck up already
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, I agree that a German auto maker should display more sensitivity. They could have called them Green Cops, Eco Cops, Enviro-Police, Eco-Police or any number of other things.

        Since Audi will have an electric car, the e-tron, coming out in 2012 I don't think they are totally trashing the "green" or EV movement. If you view the video it's clear that they are trying to make something viral and cute. The ad campaign must have come from Audi USA - all other countries actually teach history to their students.

        Another positive for Audi, they will not make a "mild" hybrid because it cannot drive the vehicle on all-electric power. As many of you know, these parallel or "mild" hybrids do not improve fuel efficiency enough to justify their added cost. Whereas a full hybrid, aka "strong" hybrid, can propel the vehicle under electric power alone and therefore delivers the most improvement in MPGs. http://detnews.com/article/20100111/AUTO04/1110407/Audi-unveils-another--e-tron--electric-sports-car

        Note that I am not an Audi fan. I am, however, a fan of any auto maker that is making an earnest effort to increase the number of all-electric cars on the road. During this first decade of electric vehicles, I'm very much pro strong hybrid and series hybrid vehicles but think that in 2050 there will be no fossil fuel vehicles on the road, hybrid or not, so hybrids are a jumping off point and not a destination.

        Go EV! It is the future.
        • 5 Years Ago
        nah it's not about sensitivity. I can handle edgy humor without a problem. it's the lack of credibility and the dishonest misdirection that's the problem. they are not trying to be green, they are trying to appear to be green to get out of actually being green. they are liars. they are evil
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering the rationing of napkins in the video, I wonder what the Green Police think about number of strings per guitar?

      Rick Nielsen 5 neck guitar

      Tom Petersson 12 string bass
      • 5 Years Ago
      There are very few Germans alive who have any memories of Hitler or the world wars. I've talked to a few of the younger ones, and they are universally tired of being everybody's whipping boy. I'd say let bygones be bygones.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I take offensive that someone is trying to tell me how many napkins to use.

      Will this PC BS ever end?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The more you know:
      Police uniforms and vehicles are green in Germany to this very day.

      There IS such a thing as "trying too hard".
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let me reiterate: It's an obscure informal term that, unlike "brown shirts", is not widely known today even among Germans, much less Americans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, they're not.

        But guess what, until I've read this very same article on Jalopik last week I've never heard of the term.
        Neither have probably 95% of all Gerrmans born after 1945, obviously including those currently working in the marketing Department of Audi.

        It's an unfortunate coincidence, yeah. But blowing this up into some kind of huge scandal is simply r e t a r d e d.
        • 5 Years Ago
        are they known as grüne polizei today?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Police uniforms and vehicles are green in Germany to this very day.

        There IS such a thing as 'trying too hard.'"

        I think you're trying to hard. The term "Grüne Polizei" has a nasty association with Nazi Germany just as does the term "Brown Shirt." It's common for sheriff's deputies to wear brown shirts, but I don't recommend referring to the sheriff's office as "Brown Shirts" when you're in court.

        Besides "Green Police" makes an ordinary German car commercial hilarious and memorable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      who cares...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a play off an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiam" by the co-creator of Seinfeld, Larry David.

      It is part of the Hollywood Liberal mindset, remember Cheryl Crow and the use of only 1 square of toilet paper per trip to the bathroom?
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