The new Citröen C4: so “green”, even bicyclists like it

I saw this amazing commercial when I was in Madrid last week. It shows a new Citröen that is suggested to be so “green” that even bicyclists follow it. The dialogue in Spanish translates to:
“the new Citröen C4, zero CO2 emissions each time it stops”
“the new Citröen C4 with micro-hybrid technology”
Of course, there is no mention of how much emissions it is spewing when it is moving, not to mention minor externalities like congestion, dominance of urban public space, harassment of those same bicyclists, traffic injuries and deaths (including those of the happy cyclists portrayed in the ad), promotion of a sedentary lifestyle, and the tremendous waste of resources in the production and waste processing of cars. It reminds me of going to a sausage restaurant that has a happy pig with a knife and fork as a logo, seemingly eager to eat itself.

Mikael blogged about this over at Copenhagenize some time ago. Apparently, it was shot in Copenhagen last summer. The completed version that he posted was a full minute and featured cyclists inhaling deeply and excitedly at each traffic light. This is an edited version where they have cut it down so it just looks like the cyclists are following the car, but are not so anxiously inhaling.

I don’t imagine the ad ever played here in Denmark. Possibly because there are not that many Citröen cars on the streets here but also because I suspect that the concept just wouldn’t work. Danes would probably see through the hypocrisy quickly. It is quite ironic, then, that the ad is shot in Denmark where no one will buy the car but marketed in Spain, where no one rides a bike.

How long until people figure out that just swapping out the motor only makes a car slightly less bad, not “good”? All cars are emissions free when they are stopped. Let’s work to keep them stopped- stopped from ruining our cities, polluting our environment, and killing millions of people. Buying a new C4 is doing just the opposite.
Here’s the C4 being as emissions free and green as possible on the streets of Madrid: by being parked. No bicyclists in sight.
Thanks to Laura for translation.
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4 responses to “The new Citröen C4: so “green”, even bicyclists like it

  1. Another example of feeling good about the car lifestyle. Every ad from every media angle is promoting the car as natural rational behavior. In Minneapolis Minnesota especially in my neighborhood the Toyota Prius is very popular. The problem this far north are cold winters where the efficiency of the battery is rarely used 6 months out of 12. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of the technology. Tho, consumers want to be seen as going green. Image is about what we own and in advertisements it is about feeling good. With warm weather ahead you might think Americans would drive less and bike more. For that behavior to become natural and rational biking must be perceived as a routine that feels good. Thanks for listening.

  2. This is just greenwashing. Objection to car culture is not only due to tailpipe emmisions as you mention. There are many more and very serious items. This commercial remindes me only “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” nothing about sustainable transportation.

  3. Hear hear. All this talk of CO2 has given people the idea that CO2 is the *only* problem with cars. There’s a great long list of problems with them. If I criticise people for owning a car in London their response will be “oh but regular long-distance rail commuters have a bigger carbon footprint than my short efficient car journeys” or “how well insulated is your house?”

  4. Pingback: Where are all the good bicycle commercials? | On Our Own Two Wheels

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