During the 2010 New York Auto Show, Lexus hosted a debate to hype its new hybrid, the CT 200h. Dubbed "The Darker Side of Green", the face-off featured eco-tech enthusiast Amanda Little, global-warming denier Phelim McAleer, and moderator Sarah Silverman. We were very, very dubious.
But by most accounts (this one's pretty typical), the debate went well. Silverman was stellar, and the event drew a goodly number of hipster trendsetters -- a major demographic for luxury hybrid cars. All of which probably explains why Lexus is adding more debates to the list, moderated by comedians Andy Samberg, Tracy Morgan, and Jamie Kennedy.
As weird as this promotion may sound, it's actually a safe bet for Lexus -- mostly because the outcome of the debates is a foregone conclusion. As a high-profile hybrid vehicle, any event centered around the CT 200h is going to draw a predominantly eco-minded crowd that'll be rooting for the green side. And just to give those progressives an enemy to boo, the debators that Lexus has put on the anti-green side are all older, white men (except for Steve Everley, who's a younger white man). Worse, they're all billed as climate-change deniers, which in 2010 is only about two steps shy of being Holocaust-deniers. Lexus could hire Kukla, Fran, and Ollie to moderate these debates, and it wouldn't change a thing.
Still, Lexus has to ensure that the trendsetters show up. To make that happen, there'll be receptions after each of the debates, featuring music from New York underground legends The Misshapes, indie darlings the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and financier-turned-DJ Paul Sevigny, who just happens to be the older brother of A-1 hipster goddess Chloe Sevigny. More importantly, there's free booze: "libations provided compliments of Patrón Spirits for attendees’ responsible enjoyment." But is that Lexus-responsible or Tracy Morgan responsible?
If you live in or near LA, Miami, New York, or Chicago, check out the press release below, which offers a lot -- a lot -- more detail about the coming events. Just don't bother with the "Dark Side" website. You've been warned.
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Torrance, Calif. - July 6, 2010 – To introduce the all-new CT 200h premium compact hybrid in the U.S., Lexus is expanding on its unprecedented ‘green issues’ debate by presenting a series of lively discussions between proponents and skeptics of climate change.
Welcome to the darker side of green.
Designed to inspire a new audience to consider luxury hybrid vehicles, the debates will be moderated by some of entertainment’s most intriguing personalities, including Andy Samberg, Jamie Kennedy, Tracey Morgan, and Mark McGrath. They will also host many of the leading environmental thinkers on both sides of the discussion – environmental advocates Simran Sethi, Amanda Little, Eric Bates, and David Roberts and climate change skeptics Phelim McAleer, Christopher Horner, Lord Monckton, and Steve Everley.
The original Lexus debate, held on March 30, 2010, was moderated by the one-and-only Sarah Silverman and included a global warming debate between renewable energy advocate Amanda Little and skeptic Phelim McAleer. This new series of debates will expand on the success of the original event and will be just as thought provoking.
“Lexus hybrid vehicles seamlessly brings together two different lifestyle characteristics – unabashed luxury and modern green technology,” said Andrea Lim, Lexus events marketing manager. “Expanding our debate series helps to reinforce the message embodied in the CT 200h - that two behaviors, not often found side by side, can successfully merge and become a way of life.”