Greenpeace Ostracizes City Gas Guzzler

As London hosted the British International Motor Show, July 20-30, 2006, Greenpeace UK hosted the Alternative Motor Show, complete with TV advert mocking the owners of four wheel drive vehicles who drive to the office.

Gas Guzzler in Greenpeace TV advert

The 90 second TV advert features an office worker who is ostracized from the moment he walks through the door in the morning to the moment he walks into the lift at the end of the day. He seems unaware of the subtle insults and sneers from his fellow workers, and drinks the coffee prepared by a female colleague, obliviously to the spit stirred in to the drink. No one will eat with him in the cafeteria. And what is it that earns him the reputation of prick and wanker? The fact that he drives his large four wheel drive vehicle to work. He’s the city gas guzzler with the SUV in the office car park. Greenpeace asks viewers, “What does your car say about you?”

Mobbing Behaviour

So… Greenpeace moves its campaign to workplace mobbing? Or is this meant to be some sort of joke? Unfortunately the behaviour depicted in the Gas Guzzler (the behaviour of office staff) could be argued to be more unethical than the behaviour of driving to work in an SUV. Workplace mobbing has been documented in a number of environments, including Workplace Mobbing Australia and Mobbing Canada. Research shows that group bullying singles out people who are change agents, high achievers, enthusiastic volunteers, those with integrity, those with ethical standards and promoters of human rights, dignity and respect. Perhaps with this in mind, the creators of the Gas Guzzler advert have developed a deliberate sense of irony in their portrayal of workplace abuse.

Gas Guzzler in Greenpeace TV advert

Alternative Motor Show from Greenhouse site

Gas Guzzler Online

Greenpeace UK host the Gas Guzzler campaign at a site which includes the advert in SWF, Quicktime and WMV formats. The site includes a day-by-day blog on the 2006 British International Motor Show, and an explanation on the effect of 4X4s on greenhouse gases and road safety. The 4.4 V8 Range Rover is singled out for attention. Greenhouse offers a list of the top ten environmentally friendly cars in the UK: Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, Peugeot 107, Honda Civic Hybrid, Smart City Coupe Hatchback, Daihatsu Charade, Vauxhall Corsa, Smart Roadster, and Daihatsu Sirion. The Greenhouse site clearly mirrors the design of the British International Motor Show site, as the two images below show.

British International Motor Show Banner


Greenpeace City Gas Guzzler was directed by Ben Sedley and produced by Lara Schachat at Home Corp, London.

Editor was Bill Smedley at Work Post, London.

Post production was done at The Mill, London, by VFX producer Darren O’Kelly, 2D lead artists David Birkill and colourist Adam Scott.

Music for the Gas Guzzler advert is “Stay Out of Trouble” by Kings of Convenience from their album, Riot on an Empty Street.

Lyrics for Stay Out of Trouble

I walked around for hours, two ten pence pieces in my hand
I was alone and freezing, still trying hard to understand you

I left the others knowing,
I had to work this by myself
But now the feeling’s growing,
I would be better off with their help

So baby, what we’ve got
Has lately not been enough
Not been enough

I wish I had your scarf still,
that once embraced and kept me warm
I wish you could be with me,
in these last days when I am still hopelessly poor

Stay out of trouble
Stay in touch
Try not to think about me too much

Stay out of trouble
Stay in touch
Try not to think about me too much

Chasers War On Everything Gas Guzzler Song

Chasers War on Everything, the Australian television comedy show, has put this ad through the TV Commercial road test…