Sometimes all it takes is a sense of humor. These seven ads come from agencies who put their top talent to work on encouraging environmentalism — promoting everything from energy-efficient light bulbs to preventing deforestation. Why do they stand out? Because they accomplished one very important goal: make ’em laugh.
And since good advertising can get people to do all kinds of things they wouldn’t normally — the results could have far-reaching effects.
1. Green Police
In 2010, Audi’s “Green Police” ad was a clear favorite in post-Super Bowl ad roundups — and why not?
With Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander on board — he re-recorded the hit “Dream Police” to incorporate the new phrase — and instant-classic lines like, “Put the rind down, sir, that’s a compost infraction!” the ad was funny, memorable, and eco-minded without being preachy.
And no matter what kind of car you drive, it might be enough to make you think twice about using those incandescent bulbs or choosing plastic bags at the grocery store.
2. Ludacris and Tommy Lee
In 2008, fledgling network Planet Green aired this ad for “Battleground Earth”.
The concept of the show took two of the carbon-heavy industry’s most famous faces — Tommy Lee and Ludacris — and pitched them against each other in a fight to see who could cut the most carbon from his summer tour.
From tattoos inked with non-toxic color and water-saving hot tubs, see how rock and rap royalty put their own hard-living spin on environmentalism.
3. Eco Agents
Advertisers know that one of the best ways to sell their products is to target kids — and make customers for life.
The same principle applies in this ad from Norwegian conservation organization, Eco Agents, which shows a dedicated junior TreeHugger standing up against a group of adults and their very un-sustainable actions.
The company also released a second subtitled ad that shows a young girl lecturing her mother on the carbon cost of flying to Paris for a weekend of shopping.
4. Future Generations
Hanes clothing company also took the “go green to keep your kids happy” route in this ad for their t-shirts and socks made using renewable energy from recycled polyester and cotton.
If you’re still having nightmares from the twins in “The Shining” then you may find the expressions on these young faces edging toward creepy, but for the rest of us, they’re just darn cute.
5. Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Greenpeace understands that the world needs light — for reading, for getting your teeth cleaned, for keeping construction sites safe at night — but in this ad for energy-efficient light bulbs, they put an unusual spin on how exactly we could go about producing that light.
(We don’t want to give away the ending, so let’s just say the ad is a bit cheeky.)
6. Hairy Situation
Initiatives to combat deforestation are everywhere, but we’re still decimating forests at an alarming rate — and this quick ad from the Altshuler-Shaham Green Fund illustrates the way the Earth must feel as roots are ripped out, stems are trimmed, and it’s just generally cleared right down to a smooth surface, one growth at a time.
Of course, we’re not exactly sure what that guy was planning to do with that ax…
7. GE Locomotives
The government’s recent announcement of a $53 billion investment in the railroad industry made it clearer than ever that trains could be a more sustainable alternative to automobile transportation — and GE played up its part in the process with this commercial for its train cars (which include the Evolution series, a design that cuts emission by 40 percent).
The company turned to the men who make the cars to find out just how passionate they are about their work.