As we couldn’t see this commercial in class today, I thought of doing my blog about the Prius commercial. I had never seen this commercial before and it totally blew me off. The commercial starts in a winter setting and as the Prius is driven to the top of a hill, the winter changes to almost the summer. The snow starts to melt, the sky gets brighter, flowers bloom, butterflies flying around…etc., almost magical. The funny part is that the Prius is synchronized with nature in this commercial. They end the commercial by saying “The third generation Prius, it’s harmony between man, nature and machine”.
It’s true that the Prius has a lower fuel consumption when compared to other vehicles, but that does not mean that it’s good for nature. This is an example of ‘Sin of the hidden trade-off’ from ‘The seven sins of greenwashing’.
Sin of the hidden trade-off- A claim suggesting that a product is ‘green’ based on a narrow set of attributes without attention to other important environmental issues. They use the fact that it has a lower fuel consumption to hide all the negative facts. How much of pollution would have caused only during the production of the car alone? And a research conducted on hybrid and electric cars prove that the using a hybrid has nothing to do with helping to mitigate climate change.
This commercial is not defined properly. This is an example of ‘Sin of Vagueness’. Sin of Vagueness-A claim that is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer.
Does driving look at all like what is shown in the commercial? The Prius is the only car we see and there are no traffic jams. This commercial makes the viewer feel that if he/she buys a Prius, he/she will be doing good to nature. Taking about nature, was it actually a natural environment in the setting? It’s actually rather ironic how humans were dressed up as nature in this commercial. The claim that the Prius has a lower fuel consumption might attract the people to switch to a Prius, but by actually buying a new car you are only posing a greater threat to the environment, you might as well keep your old car instead of switching. A large amount of energy is necessary to build just one car and when you get mislead by this kind of commercials, you actually contribute to the production of two cars- for the car you bought and for the production of the car which should now be filled into the space you created by buying a new car. That’s twice the energy demands, twice the pollution. This is a clear example of ‘Sin of lesser of two evils’-A claim that may be true within the product category, but that risks distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category as a whole. ‘Sin of Fibbing’ is the greatest sin of greenwashing imposed on this commercial (Environmental claims that are simply false). How can nature ever be synchronized with men and machine? In the commercial, the Prius has the ability to control the nature, thus almost implying that the person who buys it has the power to control the nature! This is also an example of ‘Sin of Vagueness’, it doesn’t make sense at all and these are facts which can never be true. It’s true only for this commercial as nature is manmade, literary made of humans thus they can synchronize or harmonize with the Prius/machine. This is a great example of greenwashing.
A.M Ovini H Amarasinghe