Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How NOT to save the planet with persuasive advertising

If there's one thing that working in advertising has made me- it's a critical viewer of all ads.
Creative copy writers can spin a lie on it's head and make it look as innocent as Pollyanna herself. When they add a little heart-string-rhetoric to the mix, they can effectively create an ad that delivers just about any message, and still have us shaking our heads in approval at the end of the clip.

It took a few minutes for my alarm bells to go off on this one.  
This is one of those "It's so good it's scary
" ads.
Quite literally.

The persuasive rhetoric promotes ethical tar-sands oil.
(Ethical oil?)

It suggests that by purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia, we are inadvertently backing the discrimination of women in those countries. It says that we are "funding their opression." Instead, we should buy ethical oil.... (and if we continue using this same string of logic) by not buying this "unethical" oil, we can then help to liberate those same women? Right? (No!)

This backwards half-truth rhetoric is so pervasive in political ads and campaigns; we must be easily swayed by flags and trumpets and pretty green fields, and anything that makes us feel proud of our home country. It is stunningly scary when we see these same tactics being used to sell us a point of view on something that is so blatently harmful to the environment.
Tar sands oil is not ethical. 
Spin it as you will master spinsters, I will not buy it. 
Sell me a story of solar power, wind energy, or about cars that run on water using hydrogen. Please stop assuming that our vision is so easily blinded by pulling the wool of "liberation" over our eyes. 


  1. I couldn't agree more, what a ridiculous ad! So glad you brought this out into the open. I'll gladly share your post and think you might start a discussion about this on LinkedIn. At Frogs Are Green we have written posts about oil as well as the latest scary issue of fracking.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Susan! The LinkedIn discussion is a great idea. It's so horrible to see how persuasive these ads can be. The creative minds behind them could do so much good if they used their talent to communicate positive truths.