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Audi's 'Green Police' Super Bowl ad controversial

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Perhaps you saw that ad during the Superbowl in which eco-enforcing "Green Police" seem to run a police state of sorts. They arrest a man for choosing plastic bags at the checkout counter, storm a house for a battery discarded in the garbage, and handcuff another man on his front porch in a "light bulb crackdown." He'd installed incandescent — rather than, presumably, compact fluorescent — light bulbs.

During nearly its entire one-minute duration, the ad keeps the viewer guessing as to what it's selling — until the very end when a single driver passes unmolested through an "eco-check" roadblock. (Is that an aardvark sniffing out eco-offenses, by the way?)

The car he's driving is, we learn, an Audi — the Audi A3 TDI clean diesel to be exact — a five-seater that's supposed to get 42 miles per gallon on the highway, as well as have "healthy portions of low-end torque." Green Car Journal dubbed it the "green car of the year."

The ad, which elicited glee or despair – depending on where one falls on the "people-are-degrading-the-environment" spectrum – has generated substantial buzz on the Internet not least because of its ambiguity.

It serves as a nice litmus test of — well, something that’s not entirely clear, but which echoes sentiments often voiced in discussions around environmental degradation and human-caused climate change.

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