Love it or hate it, Nissan has released a provocative new ad to unveil the automakers first electric car, Nissan Leaf. In Polar Bear —directed by Daniel Kleinman with post-production by MPC— the company tugs at the heartstrings of viewers by showing an arctic bear fleeing from its eroding habitat in search of a better home. The result is strangely moving, while at the same time, pretentious. Lets play devils advocate.
In many ways, Polar Bear is a snapshot of now: an ad that takes the pulse of the times and sums up how we are at this very instant. It’s an ad that, for better or worse, will give you goosebumps. It’s so elegantly packaged —so squeaky clean— which for some, may be too slick. Lets be honest, we’ve seen these ads before. Nissan is not the first —surely not the last— to market themselves as environmentally friendly. Laced with schmaltzy narratives, corporations pontificate about the greater good, while behind the scenes, rake in awesome profits. Moreover, Polar Bear is not the kind of content we usually post on Motionographer, so why post it?
The reality is obvious: many companies today are looking for creative ways to cash in on going green. Greenwashing, or misleading the public in matter of a companies environmental practices, has become commonplace. And while advertising has always appealed to altruistic lure, the verdict on Polar Bear is up in the air. However potent, it remains to be seen if the spot will be a bellwether for change or commercial hyperbole. In Nissan’s case, their environmental record is nothing special, but hope to get big by going small.
Time will tell if the company puts its money where its mouth is, but in the meantime, we’ll muse. In an attempt to start a conversation, we’d like you to weigh in. Is Polar Bear an example of corporate greenwashing or a step forward in the right direction?
More here on the fully electric, Nissan Leaf.