What Are they Really Selling?

I was unsure of what advertisement to write about, so I got on YouTube and searched Eco-friendly advertisement. This is one of the first ones I found.

For the first 40 seconds of the ad, the viewer has no idea what it is even attempting to sell. We only see beautiful, lush landscape and a gorgeous waterfall. Suddenly, and extremely unrealistically, a BMW drives out from behind the cascading water. It can be see that something is written on the side of the vehicle, but is not clearly able to be read as “Clean Energy” for a while. Then there is a simple statement of “BMW CleanEnergy. Responsibility and Performance.” Next, the camera zooms into the back of the car where is reads “Hydrogen 7.” The commercial claims that the BMW Hydrogen 7 is the “world’s first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan.”

This commercial struck me a extremely vague, the third sin of greenwashing. The ad does not explain anything about the car other than that is is hydrogen-powered. Additionally, it does not explain what that even means. Because there was a lack of information, I began to wonder if this ad committed any of the other sins, such as hidden trade-offs, lesser of two evils, or false labels.

In search of more information, I found an article claiming that this car is not as green as it seems and may even cause more harm to the environment than a diesel truck. The article states that although hydrogen may be a better alternative than gasoline, the vehicle requires a much larger amount of it. Although it is also able to run on gasoline, it only gets about 17 miles per gallon! In addition, a great amount of energy is needed to produce this hydrogen. Here is the article if you would like to read the complete story: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/bmw-s-hydrogen-7-not-as-green-as-it-seems-a-448648.html

Another point that I thought of was that liquid hydrogen filling stations would have to be built. Space for these places could cause further destruction of land and would also use a lot of supplies, increasing the world’s consumption.

Let me know what you think!

-Courtney Snyder



4 thoughts on “What Are they Really Selling?

  1. Interesting post. It is strange how BMW claims to have this hydrogen-powered sedan when they are under scrutiny by the EPA for not complying with their emission standards. Shouldn’t they be focusing on their other cars? I like the example you picked. This car claims to be “green”, but what do you have to destroy to make it? Like you said, you’d have to destroy land and other resources to make these. I think that BMW is using this as a way to cover themselves.

    Thank you for the post!

    -Gabriella Feltman


  2. We have been talking about hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles for decades, when Toyota came out with a profitable hybrid in the Prius most of the talk about hydrogen cars went away.

    However, right now many governments are pushing for clean energy vehicles. This technology demonstrator may be the spark that finds new and better ways of recapitalizing our transportation system.

    I can’t imagine how much energy it would take so generate the hydrogen.

    Mike Cappel


  3. I enjoyed your post and I agree with you. This ad was very vague and it did not give any real information at all about what it actually means to be hydrogen powered. This ad lacks key information and just shows flashy scenes of the vehicle.
    -Kellie Behrle


  4. I totally agree with you. This is one hilarious commercial. I honestly feel that this commercial is unrealistic. The beginning landscapes were not related to the car at all, you can’t even see images like that while you drive a car. Clearly those images were taken from a helicopter or something like that. Then you see a waterproof car coming out of a waterfall like it is even possible. The commercial is centered on clean energy but the images didn’t contribute anything towards the idea of how clean energy is produced. This was a great post!
    A M Ovini H Amarasinghe


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