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2010 New York Auto Show: Lexus Hosts Global Warming Debate, Sarah Silverman Moderates

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Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman

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2011 Lexus CT 200h

2011 Lexus CT 200h

Enlarge Photo

2011 Lexus CT 200h

2011 Lexus CT 200h

Enlarge Photo

2011 Lexus CT 200h

2011 Lexus CT 200h

Enlarge Photo

Most debuts at auto shows are fairly simple affairs. A little hip hop, a couple of smoke machines, a stray dancer or two, and voila -- a new ride is launched. But Lexus is taking a different route for the Lexus CT 200h's appearance at the 2010 New York Auto Show: to celebrate the hot, hybrid hatch, Lexus is sponsoring a debate. On global warming. Hosted by Sarah Silverman.

Lexus has drafted two reasonably well-respected personalities to sit on either side of the podium. On the left: journalist Amanda Little, who penned the eco-friendly Power Trip. On the right: Phelim McAleer, global warming denier and director/producer of the film Not Evil, Just Wrong. And in the middle (as you probably know): comedienne Sarah Silverman, whose most recent outrages include encouraging the pope sell the Vatican so he can upgrade his bachelor pad and end world hunger, adding that...well, this is a family site, so we won't use Silverman's exact words, but basically, she promised that he'd get laid.

The debate itself is being called "The Dark Side of Green" (which doesn't exactly set the stage for a fair fight, does it?). David Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus, issued a statement explaining the automaker's rationale for hosting the face-off: "Lexus hybrid vehicles have been designed to appeal to both the eco-minded and those unwilling to compromise on luxury and style." Someone should point out to Mr. Nordstrom that, as nearly every other high-end automaker has demonstrated, "luxury" and "eco-friendly" aren't opposing positions -- though we'd probably plotz from surprise if he cared.

Obviously, this is a major publicity stunt, and a pretty good one at that. No matter who makes the better argument, the real winner will be Lexus -- though honestly, we'll be watching just to see Silverman out-curse everyone in the room.

Note to commenters: let's try to restrict any debate to Lexus and its marketing strategy. This is so totally not the place to discuss climatological trends and events. Besides: it's Friday.

[MediaPost]

 
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Comments (8)
  1. Ahh, Sarah. Wait, there's a car in this story?
     
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  2. The car looks just like a Subaru Impreza crossed with the Mazda3's homely cousin.
    And Sarah Silverman? Well don't we love it when she DOESN'T keep her mouth shut?
     
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  3. Is that magical pixie dust around Silverman?
     
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  4. Here's my take on Lexus' marketing strategy: like the mainstream media's treatment of global warming (including this article), it's cynical, immoral, and wrong— no matter what day of the week it is.
    Naturally, in order to be "a major publicity stunt, and a pretty good one at that," something needs to be portrayed as a fight in which two sides have equally valid perspectives. That sells newspapers, and apparently it also now sells cars (and car magazines).
    The problem is, it's just not the case that there are two equally valid sides when it comes to global warming science. Yes, of course there are disagreements over details between serious researchers, but the basics are far more firmly established than the average article would have you think (in fact, they're ignored by the media BECAUSE they're firmly established... no conflict, no story). The truth is, physics and chemistry just don't lie... unless, of course, they are being spun by trillion-dollar fossil fuel cartels desperate to keep us hooked, no matter the consequences for our children. (Companies, by the way, that understand all to well how to work the media "refs").
    So yeah, again, as to Lexus' marketing strategy— like this article, it's cynical, immoral, and wrong. Happy Friday!
     
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  5. @Fredo: Believe me, I'm with you. The only thing I'M cynical about is Lexus' completely insincere stunt. Between you and me, I find it borderline offensive.
     
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  6. If the bad press from the recalls wasn't bad enough, choosing a polarizing personality to moderate their discussion will surely add to the increasingly negative impression of the Lexus brand.
    It's not just that she's polarizing, she's offensive. She's three shades more offensive than Bill Maher who just couches his angle with smug airs. She is out to truly tick you off with vividly painted anti-Catholic images under some banner of caustically raunchy enlightenment. Choosing her is itself a statement that Lexus is making whether they fully realize it or not.
    Not that I ever would, but I'd love to see how far I'd get ranting a spell about _her_ faith, or background at least (loose use of the word faith here) before "Benign Briss" shows up in a lather. (That was deliberate typo folks.)
    Clearly a parochial ad agency in NYC who wants to emulate S.S. thought this would be a great idea. Maybe it is to their chums--who don't represent the Lexus demographic necessarily. I'm gonna guess predominantly females north of 50 y.o. based on my myopic first hand experience.
    Talk about a doing a 180 from relying on James Remar's tight-@ssed voiceover personality who drips with smugness in their commercials. (I think he studies the voice on the Ken Burns documentaries for style and timing.)
    They should change their tag line to "Relentless Pursuit of... Turning Off Prospects" Fine by me. The Buicks have more moxie now anyway.
     
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  7. For #3 - I think it is!
    And I think this is going to be interesting, even if it's clearly just a publicity stunt.
     
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  8. lets be clear. the producer of this event is Patrick Courrielche. Patrick Courrielche writes extensively questioning climate change on conservative blogs. Mr. Courrielche is using Lexus's money and platform to bring his fringe politics into mainstream conversations. This is gross and lexus should be ashamed. Its only a matter of time before this backfires in a big way for them....
     
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