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.