Environment Forum

Fabio goes green in electric car vs gas ads

By Todd Woody
December 2, 2010

plug in america.jpg

Fabio has gone electric?

The long-maned Italian model appears in a new commercial promoting electric cars that spoofs Apple’s Mac v. PC ads of years past.

“Hello, I’m an electric,” says a hip young actor in the spot made by Plug In America, a Southern California non-profit.

“And I’m socially responsible gasoline,” says his smarmy counterpart, who is surrounded by a film crew.

“A documentary?” asks Electric.

“Time to spend some money to look like I care too. Of course, I actually profit from destroying the planet but with my billions I’m pumping up my green image. Line!”

“The eagles,” hisses an assistant.

“The balding eagles will always have a home in our oil fields,” Gas says.

The direct yells cut. “Bring in the face, please.”

Enter Fabio (who hitched a ride to the shoot in a Tesla Roadster electric sports car).

The 30-second spot is one of three that appear online and are being broadcast on the EnergyNow! Television program.

With the Chevrolet Volt electric hybrid now rolling off the assembly line and the Nissan Leaf electric car hitting the streets this month, there’s been no shortage of media coverage of electric vehicles or advertising from automakers themselves.

So why the pointed, if funny, barbs – another spot has Gas consorting with a grungy oil worker and a lawyer — at gasoline-powered cars just as Detroit finally moves to go electric?

“Every large auto company manufacturing an electric car is still predominately in business to sell gas burners,” Zan Dubin Scott, a spokeswoman for Plug In America, said in an e-mail. “We wondered just how strongly they’d extol the benefits of electric drive. Plug In America wanted to send an unequivocal message about the economic, environmental and national security benefits of electric over gas.”

Plug In America grew out of a group of electric car enthusiasts who fought to save General Motors’ EV1, the electric Toyota RAV4 and other battery-powered vehicles that briefly came on the market in the late 1990s. (Their effort was chronicled in the 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” ).

The electric car commercials, each made for about $870, were produced by the Hollywood-electric car industrial complex. Alexandra Paul, a Plug In America board member best known for her role on “Baywatch,” served as producer. Marvin Campbell, the actor who plays Gas, owns two electric RAV4s. Director Eric Swenson drives a Tesla, according to Dubin Scott.

And Fabio? You can also see him in a more conventional ad hawking Toyotas.

(Photo courtesy of Plug In America.)



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