The upside of giving a damn? Or who gives a damn?

Back during the Winter Olympics, many of us were conflicted, but amused, by Cadillac’s new ad promoting it’s first ever all-electric car. Now Ford has made a response – a shot-by-shot reproduction, with a twist – and I’m still not sure how I feel.

Here’s the Cadillac ad

It’s funny, and feels like it’s probably a good way to sell a Cadillac (electric or otherwise) to their target audience. but it’s also a macho, chest thumping, pro-America consumerist diatribe delivered by a white dude in a suit as he walks through a gigantic suburban house. In short, it’s a pretty good ad to sell electric cars to the exact kind of people who will probably never buy an electric car (eg those who say ‘whatever’ to the ideas of slow food, multi-culturalism, and buying less so we can live more.)

Now here’s the Ford ad:

The differences are immediate and obvious – instead of a white guy in a suit, we have a black small business owner in carharts (ok she changes into a suit later). Instead of a huge house full of consumer products, we’ve got a small Detroit greenhouse and office filled with ‘crazy entrepreneurs trying to make the world better by … collecting food scraps from restaurants and manure from zoos … to make good rich dirt’.

But it’s the last line that really gets me. Cadilac’s ad ends with:

as for all the stuff, that’s the upside of taking only 2 weeks of in August.

Where as Ford’s says:

As for helping a city grow good green healthy vegetables, that’s the upside of giving a damn.

I’m not sure how I feel about car companies claiming credit for the local food and composting movements. But one thing is for sure – I’m really enjoying watching Detroit’s multi-billion dollar ad budget put to use one-upping each other over who cares more about the planet, so we can buy more electric cars.

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