Video: Canadian Anti-Idling Campaign Is 'Unacceptable', Geddy Lee Possibly To Blame

April 6, 2010
Screencap from Green Calgary's 'Unacceptable' ad

Screencap from Green Calgary's 'Unacceptable' ad

In the U.S., we often think of Canadians as our kinder, gentler, older, wiser siblings: the designated drivers of the Northern Hemisphere. They're friendly enough and pleasant to be around, but a tad reserved for our brash, American tastes.

Then we stumbled across a commercial full of Canadians peeing in the streets.

The ad in question is titled "Unacceptable", and it was developed by an environmental group called Green Calgary to help raise awareness about the pollution caused by idling cars. As the organization says on the front page of its website: "The negative health and environmental impacts of idling have been known for over a decade. Yet, all over the city of Calgary we are leaving our cars running while not in use for an average of 5-10 minutes per car per day. Idling is unnecessary. It wastes fuel, produces more harmful emissions than normal driving, damages engines, and contributes to climate change."

Of course, it's one thing to explain that in nice, sensible prose, but Green Calgary wanted to make its argument graphically, too, so they enlisted the aid of JOE Media Group.  Naturally, JOE thought that the best way to illustrate the environmental damage caused by idling cars was to show Canadians peeing all over their homeland. The metaphor is kind of a stretch:

So, we have some comments/questions for Green Calgary and JOE Media Group:

1)  Kudos to both of you for showering us with the first mass-urination clips we can recall seeing in a TV commercial. You might've gone overboard a wee bit with some of the special effects, but we get the idea.

2)  Please explain what the audition process was like. Did any of the actors get shy?

3) The tagline at the end of the clip reads, "Get turned off. For good." But surely you know that this clip will have the opposite effect on some viewers?

4) As we understand it, bears do far worse things in the woods of Canada. What sort of campaign do you plan to wage against them?

5) Be honest: did Geddy Lee put you up to this? Or possibly Michael Bublé? We've tried to warn you about those guys, but you never listen.

[AdWeek via TheAwl]

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