Why the “Green Police” Is So San Francisco

Audi car commercial "hits home" for Gavin Newsom and other city dwellers

Audi's "Green Police" Super Bowl ad was clearly out to mock environmentalist fervor -- and it hit close to home in greener-than-thou San Francisco.

Perhaps that's because it was the brainchild of Audi's advertising agency, San Francisco independent Venables Bell & Partners.

Sitting squarely in the "I am white, middle-class man, hear me roar" school of ads, the Cheap Trick-scored commercial suggested a world in which the type of individual decisions that seem meaningless but in the aggregate make a difference are enforced by enthusiastic law enforcement professionals in green uniforms.

The implication: You can only escape the zealots if you buckle under and forego plastic grocery bags for paper (when you should be bringing your own, but you knew that).

One moment in particular resonated with San Franciscans: A man standing at a sink prepares to dump a rind in his sink's disposal unit -- an act ostensibly banned by San Francisco's new composting mandate, one of Mayor Gavin Newsom's many green initiatives.

Unless, of course, you buy an Audi. Because nothing says "I'm a real American, and not some effete liberal environmental lunatic" like an Audi.

The locally conceived advertisement was enough to get Newsom, who has pushed for the type of recycling and composting mandates that give the spot its believably authoritarian edge, was moved to tweet, "Ok .. That "green police" Audi commercial hits home."

If Venables Bell really wanted to twist the knife, though, wouldn't they point out that an Audi designed for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel would probably emit less pollution than the city-owned hybrid SUV Newsom is currently being driven around in?

Jackson West laughed when he heard "clean diesel," because you only need to see one blasted mountain range to never believe the "clean coal" lie.

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