For many Americans (myself not really among them), the athletic event of the year is not the Winter Olympics. Rather than watching somewhat obscure winter sports half a world away, many Americans will instead be watching the Rams and the Bengals faceoff in the Superbowl this Sunday.
Such a captive audience is a marketer’s dream. It’s not a secret that Superbowl commercials are some of the most expensive, and inventive, around. Honestly, I think they’re the most fun part of the game — though, I know this is a profoundly strange take!
Considering the size of the audience and the stake of these ads, I was pleased to see that GM is once again putting electric vehicles at the forefront! This time with an Austin Powers themed spot. The ad has the potential to get the words “climate change is arguably the number-one threat to the world right now,” in front of millions of people, many of whom may not be regularly targeted with climate messaging.
Of course, one also has to call greenwashing. GM, while laudably leading on electric vehicles is still behind the curve. Most recently, they’ve publicly supported Build Back Better, the big climate bill, while remaining a part of the Business Roundtable — an industry lobbying group leading the kill squad for this legislation.
So, while I believe that the probable millions spent on this ad could have had a better use funding real solutions, or at least presenting an ad truly focused on climate justice rather than car sales, I remain hopeful that it can help reach new people. I have no faith in the good intentions of General Motors’s corporate directors; however, I do have faith in their love of the bottom line. So, while it may be greenwashing, perhaps it truly will usher in a shift toward electric vehicles. Either way, come Monday, let’s get back to the real work of holding extractive and exploitative companies accountable for their destructive ways.