Green is a good color for the Super Bowl. Who could forget the 1980 classic with Mean Joe Greene’s Coca-Cola spot? In 2006, the word “green” came up again in Super Bowl ads. This time around, however, it had less to do with football and more to do with one thing we’re probably not thinking much about while watching our favorite team dominate the bright green football field . . . the environment.
We all know it’s not easy being green. And no one knows this better than the little guy who might be the world’s favorite talking frog; Kermit. Any fan of Jim Henson and his classic Muppets is probably familiar with the immortal tune first performed during the first season of the children’s classic Sesame Street, “(It’s Not That Easy) Bein’ Green”. For years that’s been a trademark phrase of the familiar amphibian who spends most of his time on land, either running or performing in the Muppet Theatre, covering news stories, or hunting for that rainbow connection along with all “the lovers, the dreamers, and me.” In 2006, however, Kermit took a break from his usual roles to play the part of spokesman . . . er, spokes-frog. (Click here to watch this ad)
In what may be one of the best Super Bowl ads of 2006, in a spot for the Ford Escape Hybrid, Kermit the Frog is seen struggling his way through several outdoors adventures-mountain biking, kayaking, and mountain climbing-while the familiar tune that has always epitomized the frog’s existence plays in the background. As Kermit summits the mountainside, he comes upon a peculiar site: a silver Ford Escape. The first word out of Kermit’s mouth upon spotting the vehicle is a stunned, “Wow!” The phrase “It’s not that easy being green” plays in the background as Kermit checks the car out, coming around to the back. After a few little grunts of approval and awe, he spots the sign on the back declaring-with an environmentalist friendly green leaf logo-that the vehicle is a Hybrid. Turning to the camera, Kermit exclaims, “I guess it is easy being green!”
Now, the first reason I would call this a great, classic Super Bowl commercial is in the form of a question: Could Ford have chosen a better representative for this ad campaign? The answer, which I hope is as obvious as it seems to me, is no. This was, as many dubbed the Ford-Frog relationship shortly after their premiere, a “match made in heaven!” As I said earlier, the primary thought on our minds during the Super Bowl probably isn’t going to be the environment or being environmentally friendly. Yet something that’s not so out of place is a car. When is a car commercial not an appropriate commercial?! Even if you’re not so into the popular vehicular passions, I personally think it would be virtually impossible for anyone to turn away from that lovable green frog who has held our hearts in his webbed little hands since 1955.
Yet the perfection of this pairing goes beyond a mere love for both talking frogs and environmentally sound cars. We all know that Kermit considers himself an environmentalist; he stressed this fact about himself when he gave the commencement speech at Southampton College in 1996. And why shouldn’t he be? Modern declines in amphibian populations have become a topic of interest among conservationists and environmentalists, particularly with the effects of pollutants and issues with the ozone layer. No one could blame Kermit for taking this issue personally; after all, he has over three thousand brothers and sisters who must be affected by this every day! One can only imagine the beloved Muppet star’s reaction to the offer of representing Ford’s latest, environment-friendly hybrid vehicle!
What really makes this commercial great is the general warm-and-tingly-feeling you get from watching it. Whether you’re a tree hugger or gas-guzzler, the image of Kermit the Frog in any capacity is enough to make most people smile. There is a sort of “reminiscent” appeal to the commercial; no matter when you were born, Kermit’s image seems to have the ability to “take you back” to those “good old days” when the world was fresh, new . . . green. Sure, I know it’s cheesy, and in a way the commercial itself is pretty cheesy, too. But it’s also memorable, which is a great thing for any commercial. I won’t say that any time I find myself humming “(It’s Not That Easy) Bein’ Green” I’m going to want to go out and save a rainforest or nag some driver of a humungous SUV; but I can’t help but remember the commercial with a sense of happiness that only someone like Kermit the Frog can bring. And, after all . . . maybe it should be easier to be green!