Mock Ads Show Immoral Prius Drivers

A series of humorous mock Toyota print advertisements—depicting Prius owners as sleazy and criminal—is circulating the Internet. The works of political art by an unknown graphic artist undermine the notion that hybrid drivers are more ethical human beings.

One of the three ads shows a nerdy-looking Prius driver soliciting a prostitute. Another one is evocative of a scene from a movie, in which an adulterous hybrid driver romantically embraces a suburban housewife while her unsuspecting husband collects his morning paper. And in the most outrageous ad, a shady characters drags a wrapped corpse from an open Prius hatchback toward a lake at dusk. The tagline at the bottom of each ad is “Well, at least he drives a Prius.”

Various market surveys have indicated that a large number of hybrid drivers are motivated by a desire to reduce their environmental impact—and an interest in letting others know they care about the environment. This green streak has been criticized as vain by media pundits, ridiculed as smug on South Park, and seized by marketers using hackneyed images (e.g., windmills, Kermit the Frog, etc.) to sell vehicles only slightly less damaging to the environment.

The mock print ads of unethical Prius drivers dispel any notion that the legions of hybrid owners—now numbering more than one million—are a monolithic group of do-gooders. Or that an individual hybrid driver can be excused for any crime (or act of self-righteousness) simply because he or she drives a vehicle that gets 45 miles to the gallon.

Or the images can simply be enjoyed for a good laugh.

Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius

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  • Boom Boom

    First off, I have to say the ads are pretty funny. (And I say that as a hybrid driver… but it’s a Honda….We’re not smug. We actually ARE better people.)

    Second off, I think the article written above is a little excessive in piling on the congratulatory language to the humorous message . The ads do not “dispel any notion” of anything. There are not actual evidence that Prius owners get hookers or dispose of bodies. They’re funny. They’re humor.

    I bet most Prius drivers wish they could bang housewives while their husband was away. That might even be a selling point.

  • Prius Driver

    I am personally offended by the ads, especially since I’m in the second picture! And in my defense, I was providing a needed service to the woman in the photo that her husband was not willing or capable of providing. A driver of a Chevy Cobalt or a VW Passat would have done the same thing.

    I’d like to know how they got the photo! (’cause I think I recognize my buddy Frank in the top photo. I always wondered where his rich Uncle Bob went….)

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile, another car manufacturer asks, does you car turn you on? And yet another offers a sleek and sexy model. It is one thing to point out car makers appeal to our feelings even if they are not righteous feelings, but it is another to belittle efforts of some to do the right thing.

  • Anonymous

    Silly haters! Probably done by a Hummer driver pissed off about his gasoline bill.

  • Boom Boom

    These ads demonstrate the success of Toyota’s marketing campaign. Every brand’s goal is to create such a powerful image that people buy it not because they need the item, but because they want to be that person. The only reason this ad is funny is because Toyota has successfully created the image that driving a Prius is morally superior. No other automobile model (perhaps in history) has achieved such a strong brand image.

    This ad may be satire, but it is based on a premise that Prius drivers can be proud of.

  • WCPO

    I am deeply offended by those ads. As a discrete and very private Prius owner, I have anonymously dedicated my life to rescue puppies, feed the homeless and find an end to sickness and hunger in Africa. Owning a Prius is the only way I have to let people know that I am better than them. These ads only serve to cheapen my investment in the car and may force me to install solar panels on the roof of my home to show my neighbors, friends and family that I’m still a better human being than they’ll ever be.

    World Class Prius Owner

  • Anonymous

    “The only reason this ad is funny is because Toyota has successfully created the image that driving a Prius is morally superior.”

    Satire on your part? I hope so.

    Honestly, I don’t think that anyone who drives anything other than a Prius believes for a second that driving a Prius is “morally superior”. I also fervently hope that no more than the tiniest minority of Prius drivers are arrogant and frankly silly enough to think themselves “morally superior” simply because of the car they drive.

    There are two and only two reasons people drive a Prius (or any other car for that matter). Either the cost benefit equation works out such that whatever premium they pay for the car is at least offset by the benefits, such as higher fuel efficiency and tax breaks, or they’re — naive. Even vanity doesn’t explain it, because you’d have to be an idiot to think yourself morally superior just because you drive a Prius instead of a Focus or an Elantra. To think that anyone else would consider you morally superior goes all the way to delusional.

    And THAT is why the ads are funny. Not because Toyota has successfully created the image that Prius drivers are morally superior — but because they have created the image that Prius drivers *think themselves* morally superior, or even think that others see them that way. More generally, they basically take a shot at those who are so focused on the cause of environmentalism that they would excuse almost any kind of bad behavior as long as it doesn’t have to do with the environment.

  • hybrid man

    They are just trying to enlarge their demographic. If you convince people that hybrids are not only for environmentally conscious people, then there will be more on the road. How could that be a bad thing?

  • Jeff

    I drive a Prius and I laughed my butt off at these ads. They are great. Like someone said they show that any one can drive a Prius or any other nerdy car can be themselves, no matter how sleazy that may be.

    Lets get a Prius driver on SNL News Update and grill them along with a Hummer driver. Having these two stereo types duke it out on TV would be hilarious.

  • Hal Howell

    The ads are funny to a point. Since Global Warming is a hoax (We have entered Global Cooling), what other reason might one drive a Prius? I know, … maybe its because it gets 46.1 mpg! I can’t speak for anyone else but I bought and drive a Prius because I routinely get 46.1 mpg. That allows me to drive to work and home for 3 weeks before I need to fill up.
    There needs to be an understanding that people drive what they feel they want or need and that is as it should be. In Texas, some people here drive pick-ups for work and often for pulling horse/cattle trailers and because they go to places not fit for a Prius or any other such car. I gave up my Dodge Ram 1500 truck, not because I didn’t like it but because of the price of gas. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Prius, its a fantastic car that meets my needs for transportation. However, there are times I wish I still had my RAM. There are times a pick-up truck is really what you need. Those who can afford to drive the truck will do so, no matter what the cost. For the rest of us many will convert over to fuel efficient cars.
    If we really want to be energy independent then we need to drill for more oil until it is either not needed or it runs out.
    We need to conserve where we can. The Prius does conserve gasoline. Conserving is just the right thing to do and if helps make the air better to breath then that’s just a added bonus. For those of you too young to remember, I remember gagging as I walked home from school because of exhaust fumes from 1950s cars. So, we have come a long way since those days and that’s good.
    We need to continue development of gas alternatives for the long term.

  • Diddy

    At least they’re driving HYBRIDS! shyt! I’d rather pick up prostitutes AND save gas AND lessen the blow to the environment! Yeehaw! I mean it is legal in Nevada or don’t any of you do gooders know about that? No but seriously, the whole idea is kind of played out. I saw the whole theme on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM about 3 years ago when it was funny. Somewhat clever.

    On a side note…

    It’s funny how when the Green movement actually catches on there’s all the people who were talking shit or didn’t give a shyt 10 years ago who now realize they can’t completely jump on the bandwagon right away or they’d be completely “flip-flopping” on themselves. So what do they do? Well, they feel if they talk shyt the whole way on those who actually take green initiatives then it makes them feel better for being enviro-puussies to begin with. I can’t wait till Hummer comes out with a hybrid 10 years from now and then we’ll get H2 Hybrid drivers on here talking like they know anything past how their golf swing is doing.

  • Anonymous drives a CHEVY SUBURBAN…

    Anonoymous wrote…

    “There are two and only two reasons people drive a Prius (or any other car for that matter). Either the cost benefit equation works… [blah blah blah], or they’re — naive.”

    stupidest reasoning and most simplistic assessment I have seen on here today. WHAT ABOUT SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT!? Did that escape your flawless logic? You clearly don’t understand the point that is stressed at least as much in their ads as gas mileage, the whole green idea! Do you watch this thing called TELEVISION that plays these things called COMMERCIALS where alongside the typical ads to get hip drivers Toyota stresses how they want to be green? I would say thats the average persons rationale for getting a PRIUS. You are over-simplifying the context of why a Prius might be bought over another car. Why the hell is it so bad to say that driving a less harmful car isn’t morally superior to driving a car more harmful to the environment?!?!?!? Tom in a Prius hurts nature less than Tom in a Hummer right, or is there some issue you can find with that to try and help rebolster your flimsy arugment? Sure evil people can drive a PRIUS but at least one aspect of their life (driving impact on environment) isn’t as bad as the Churchgoing, godfearing angel of a NRA member who drives 300 miles a week in his Chevy Suburban. You would rather flip the whole argument around, demonized some PRIUS drivers, and you yourself take on the “better than thou” attitude you hate so much and VOILA! You are now the snob you hate!

    (b.t.w…. I drive a BMW and would buy a Prius right now if it didn’t look like a slightly less cracked out Focus)

  • Anonymous

    “stupidest reasoning and most simplistic assessment I have seen on here today. WHAT ABOUT SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT!? Did that escape your flawless logic?”

    No, I covered that completely in my original post:

    “or they’re — naive.”

    “Why the hell is it so bad to say that driving a less harmful car isn’t morally superior to driving a car more harmful to the environment?!?!?!?”

    It’s not “bad” to say it. It’s just incorrect.

  • GuitarGuy305

    Do I think I’m better than most people?

    Yes, but it has very little to do with the fact that I drive a hybrid.

  • Bill

    Twelve reasons to own a hybrid:

    1) promote the alternative fuel industry so we can more quickly eliminate our need to police/invade/occupy oil rich nations on the other side of the world
    2) single occupant HOV lane driving in AZ
    3) geek factor is high (this thing is a fricking engineering marvel)
    4) negligible impact on the environment (global warming or no, cleaner air is a good thing)
    5) man this thing is quiet (anyone heard of noise pollution)
    6) cheap to drive ( I average 51 mpg in the winter)
    7) escape the heat in the Arizona summer by parking in the shade of a nearby monster truck or hummer. (They ARE useful for something)
    8) has surprisingly good performance, handling and overall ride comfort (it is a well made car)
    9) hot chicks dig ’em
    10) express “smug Prius owners only” lane at the Pearly Gates while the heathens wait in line. 🙂
    11) Bonus points for starving a terrorist.
    12) Hybrids are the ultimate weapon of less destruction.

    Full disclosure: our other car is a Honda Odyssey, but as soon as the Prius station wagon comes out, that thing is SO out of here.

  • dionysus

    I drive Prius to commute to work and my wife drive another Prius, and we drive Land Cruiser (with my wife and 3 kids) during weekends. The best of both ends that suit our need.

  • Anthony Johnson

    I am offended that so many people are swayed by media and manufacturers false claims. I wish consumers would do a little more research on their own, such as viewing the Dust to Dust automotive energy report that not only shows that hybrids in general don’t get better gas mileage than similar non-hybrid cars, but they actually have an overall increased environmental impact. This really sucks if you are also inclined to jump onto the faddish and ridiculous global warming scare. Not only do hybrids not get better fuel economy than non-hybrids, but they also use more energy to produce and have to be junked sooner.

  • Dylan

    These are hilarious and who cares its not like its gonna change your mind so why not have a little humor.

  • Volkswagen Parts Blog

    Me and my friends from Volkswagen Parts Blog think that the ads are really funny. They should be doing more of these ads.

  • son of a prius driver

    my mom drives a prius. it is a great car but might make people not want to buy the car, in fear of getting killed(but i love the pics)

  • kyle

    You are better than who no one! in fact that statment makes you one of the worst people in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO ONE IS BETTER THAN ANYONE! you peace of s#!*

  • Ha ha

    ‘We actually ARE better people’

    Sounds mighty smug. Get off your high horse. Many non-hybrid cars get better mpg’s than hybrid cars and don’t have disgusting lithium batteries that weigh loads (reducing fuel economy) and are shipped 3 times around the world before they even get to the car showroom, and need replacing every 6 years. So… yeah. Stop being smug.

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