Blue is the new green

Volkswagen wants you to Think Blue, which, it turns out, is their “green” initiative. If this makes no sense to you, Nancy Friedman will explain:

[W]hy “blue” and not “green,” the color more commonly associated with “sustainable ecological action”?

For starters, “blue” directly references BlueMotion, the umbrella name (in Europe, anyway) for “the most fuel-efficient Volkswagen model in its class.” (That doesn’t necessarily mean hybrids or plug-in electrics; the Polo Blue Motion has a diesel engine.) Origin, the UK branding agency that came up with BlueMotion, explained the name thus: “Blue” is the Volkswagen colour and represents elements such as air and water whilst “Motion” embodies future, forward-looking mobility.

Perhaps much to Vee Dub’s annoyance, they don’t have the blue bandwagon all to themselves: Mercedes-Benz hawks BlueTEC Diesel vehicles here — on a page that says “THINKING GREEN,” yet! And if having to keep up with the Benzes is a blow to one’s (or Ferdinand Piëch’s, anyway) self-esteem, think what it must be like to take a back seat to Hyundai:

Hyundai introduces Blue Drive, an emblem that will start appearing on Hyundai models beginning with the ’09 Elantra and Accent. It represents Hyundai’s comprehensive overhaul of thinking green. With Blue Drive products and technologies, Hyundai will be able to achieve a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, a full five years ahead of government guidelines.

Neither Elantra nor Accent utilizes any expensive gee-whiz technotrickery, either; they’re simply a bit more miserly with fuel than their class competitors.

Then again, Friedman was noticing this sort of thing a couple of years ago herself:

During her presentation at the American Name Society’s annual meeting in January [2009], Catchword principal Laurel Sutton predicted a rise in “blue” in names for environmentally conscious brands. (After all, healthy oceans, lakes, rivers, and skies are pretty important for a sustainable future.)

Anyone want to guess the eventual replacement for “blue”?

Update: Tweaked the Mercedes line slightly.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 June 2011 · 1:11 pm

    Clear. (Or, if you prefer, “invisible.”)

  2. hatless in hattiesburg »

    1 June 2011 · 1:19 pm

    i’ll answer your question with a monty python question:

    “what’s brown and sounds like a bell?”

  3. McGehee »

    1 June 2011 · 2:01 pm

    (After all, healthy oceans, lakes, rivers, and skies are pretty important for a sustainable future.)

    And nobody wants to drink, or swim in, green water.

  4. Mel »

    1 June 2011 · 6:33 pm

    Seafoam. My money is on Seafoam.

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