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5-person family in VW Atlas

Luv Bug Spot Tells Outdated Fairy Tale

A cute, and slightly saucy, Volkswagen commercial makes the Wall of Shame today because it perpetuates an outdated and dangerous norm – the big, happy family. I have no problems with happy families. It’s the size of family that matters now, and matters in this commercial:

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas – “Luv Bug” Commercial

This commercial cleverly and humorously tells the old fairy tale: boy meets girl, boy and girl marry, boy and girl make baby, boy and girl buy bigger car, make another baby, get bigger car, make another baby. The problem with this is that what we know today about overpopulation, the ecological (and carbon) footprint of each citizen in well-off nations like the U.S., and the all the deleterious impacts of each added person (fertile soil depletion, ocean dead zones, fisheries collapse, coral reef bleaching, fresh water toxification, climate disruption).

Graduating to a bigger car with each addition to the family tragically illustrates the growing footprint as a family expands. Chances are a homebuilder out there has a similar commercial with the house getting bigger every time a couple makes whoopee.

We’re now at a point where young couples should be expected to make responsible family size decisions. And that means conceiving one child if you really want one; otherwise none. The public conversation about this is growing. Here are a few good examples worthy of the Wall of Fame:

NPR: Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

The Overpopulation Podcast: Choosing Childfree

The Overpopulation Podcast: Our Moral Obligation to Conceive Just One Child

Conversation Earth: Moral Basis for Small Families

Very clever commercial, but the folks at VW and their agency, Deutsch, need to be brought up to date. This kind of tale retards our progress in updating to a small-family norm.

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Dave Gardner

Producer of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave writes and speaks regularly on the subject of growth addiction, including the pro-growth media bias that perpetuates prosperity-from-growth mythology.

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