I’ve recently noticed car advertisements that openly address climate change with a new form of macho posturing: ‘yes we know but we DON’T CARE!’. This is a cynical style adopted from tabloid columnists such as Jeremy Clarkson, whose fans constitute a definable market sector.
Of course if you really don’t care about something you don’t put it in the middle of your advert. When people define themselves by what they are not, they are always dealing with some kind of internal conflict. These ads reflect a wider social trend whereby people respond to their fear of climate change and the personal restraint it demands by deliberately indulging in behaviour that they know to be destructive. This is a form of denial psychoanalysts call ‘reaction formation’.
Here are some recent examples. One from the US:
And here is one which appeared in the motoring section of my local paper two weeks ago from a local Ford dealership.
To my astonishment I turned the page and found the following advert . Although it is not about climate change it speaks to the same tendency to aggressively confront any arguments for restraint and makes me all the more convinced that this is a new trend.
I would like to build a gallery of adverts that reveal some aberrant response to climate change (including outrageous greenwash). Please send me scans to email@example.com or snail mail me a hard copy c/o COIN, 16B Cherwell Street, Oxford OX4 1BG, UK and I will scan it for you.