By on August 10, 2009

Just as GM is prepping a green themed “230” Volt hype campaign, comes word from Automotive News [sub] that green is so 2003. “For all the talk about green vehicles,” intones the industry rag, “blue is the new color of choice to embody clean driving.” Did you think that Mercedes BlueTec and VW/Audi’s “AdBlue” names came from the blue tint of their diesel-emissions-treating urea fluids? Nope. “The color blue is associated with freshness, dynamism and lightness,” say VW flacks. And according to Hans Tempel, president of Mercedes-Benz Japan, “Blue perfectly encapsulates the cool, clear sky of a world unsullied by greenhouse gases.” Gagging yet? The best eco-chromatic marketing analysis awaits post-jump.

One point we will concede to Tempel, namely that “‘green’ is a term that is heavily occupied. You’ve got to find a new term in a global brand,” he explains. Fair enough, but if Toyota uses blue for its Prius badging, Hyundai brands its clean cars as “Blue Drive,” and Nissan’s new Leaf EV is blue-themed, how long will the blue-as-green branding stay fresh? Especially when the alleged originality of the color coding is drowned in the hemming-and-hueing of relentless marketing-speak. Like this bon mot from Simon Humphries, general manager for global design at Toyota: “blue is green with technology. It’s a clean and fresh color, and I think that’s what people are looking for.”

But, as usual, the best explanation for the blueshift (trademark pending) comes not from the designers and company toadies, but from the interpretive power of the media. Automotive News [sub] breaks it down:

“To its champions, blue is Earth-friendly in a high-tech, “Star Trek” way. It’s futuristic, evoking the dilithium crystals that effortlessly power the starship Enterprise at warp speed. Green, by contrast, is Earth-friendly in a granola way. Like a hippy bus running on hemp seed oil.”

Got that? There will be a test.

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16 Comments on “Blue Is the New Green Is the New Bullshit...”


  • avatar
    Sutures

    It makes me see RED that all of these companies are so GREEN with envy that they jump on any passing trend. Why are they so YELLOW that they can’t come up with their own meme? All this does is make the customer BLACK & BLUE.

    … ORANGE you glad I ran out of colors?

  • avatar
    ajla

    “To its champions, blue is Earth-friendly in a high-tech, “Star Trek” way. It’s futuristic, evoking the dilithium crystals that effortlessly power the starship Enterprise at warp speed.”

    This is a horrible comparison.

    Star Trek: TNG had an entire episode dedicated to the idea that the use of dilithuium warp drives caused rips in the fabric of space. The gravitational effects on planets near the rips was causing massive climate change. The solution was to limit the speed of every starship to slow down the effect.

    Warp drive starships were the Ford F-350 V10 of the Star Trek universe, not the Toyota Prius.

    Star Trek: TNG Forces of Nature episode synopsis.

  • avatar
    seschub

    Well played, Sutures!

    I remember in the mid to late 90’s, new sports teams, and even some old ones, all adopted this aqua-blue color- it was the perfect marketing color, they were told. Until those teams started losing, then no one gave a rip.

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    While these marketing geniuses talk about blue and green colors, everything coming out of their brains is, in fact, diarrhea-brown.

  • avatar
    petrolhead85

    So the “proper eco-colour” is yet another thing that Honda screwed up on the Insight, because the speedo turns BLUE when you’re not driving in a so-called eco friendly way.

  • avatar
    ingolstadt

    Reminds me of this from Singapore:

    ***Green Green***Green Green***
    ***I Pink up the phone***

    “Yellow?”

    “Blue is that?”

    “Yellow?”

    “I tell you, don’t Purplely call me for nothing! I won’t call you Black!”

    So do we get Orange and Yellow when cars beginning mass use of solar power?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Marketing people have a tendency, if they’re very bad at what they do, to both overthink and underthink at the same time.

    This is one of those situations.

  • avatar
    esager

    I took note the other day that the new Prius logo is tinged with blue behind the chrome ovoid Toyota rings of boredom…

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    A horse and carriage are usually BROWN.

  • avatar

    Oh, the irony, since GM was thinking about changing the color of its logo from blue to green.

  • avatar

    So I can now add “bluewashing” to the list of things I hate (subfiled under stupid nomenclature).

    Gah I can’t wait until all this short-sighted (yes, it is. Think about it – does any of it think of long term goals or consequences of changing things, beyond dropping tailpipe CO2 emissions a few points?) environmental hysteria blows over. Thankfully I’m young and I’m certain I’ll see the end of it in the next decade (sooner the better).

  • avatar
    wsn

    Well, it seems that Ford and BMW got it right the first time.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    What’s the odds that the “Blue is the new Green” folks are the same ones that came up with the “Climate Change is the new Global Warming” tripe?

    What are the chances that the auto marketing mavens are noticing that “green” is becoming equated with political correctness, socialism and as an identifier of things to be avoided?

  • avatar
    Boff

    So green is the new red?

    Luckily, as we all know, the B&B are completely resistant to anything that might even vaguely smack of “marketing”.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Gagging yet?

    Yes.

  • avatar
    vento97

    ATTACK OF THE MARKETING-DROIDS!!!!

    Coming soon to a dealership near you!!!

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