Campaign playfully mocks Northern California lifestyle habits to push electric vehicles

"You already pay $7 for organic blueberries. Why not drive electric?"

Plug-in cars were the rage this weekend during the Los Angeles Auto Show, with Tesla’s Cybertruck and the Ford Mustang Mach-E coming in as two of the splashier debuts.

In the San Francisco Bay area, though, a consortium of green energy groups is launching a digital campaign to convince Californians why they should consider driving an electric vehicle in the first place.

The campaign of short videos poses the thought: "You do the small, now do the big." Viewers see examples of all the little things they do to live more sustainably - such as buying organic blueberries, drinking from Hydro Flasks, recycling coffee pods and even giving "those Impossible Burgers a chance." The campaign asks drivers to take the next, bigger step and drive electric.

"We learned that the biggest thing a person can do to reduce their CO2 output is switch from gas to electric," said Josh Denberg, founder and creative director at Division of Labor, the Sausalito ad agency that devised the campaign for Drive Clean Bay Area. 

California has grand goals to get five million electric vehicles on its freeways by 2030. There are approximately 700,000 on the road today. 

"Well over half of Californians do not consider an electric car even though they are aware of them," said Lisa Chiladakis, manager of technology and programs at Veloz, a nonprofit of automakers, utilities and other stakeholders. "We need to go a long way to grow that consideration."

Drive Clean Bay Area, a nonprofit founded by climate activists Carleen Cullen and Lawrie Mott, is hoping its video ads help achieve this goal. The ads link to their website which goes beyond rhetoric to feature a range of electric vehicles for sale through the group-buying service, Cartelligent. 

The campaign’s 17 short videos will appear on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on mobile. They will also be retargeted to people who visit the Drive Clean Bay Area website. 

Creative picks up on the region’s little ways.  goes one 13-second video. "You do the small. Now do the big," is each spot’s parting message. 

In addition to buying pricey items, Northern Californians are known to suffer through organic cheese curls, give up deodorant and wear hemp pants. 

Division of Labor opened up a Google document for the office to riff off each other’s suggestions. "I love the hemp pants one. And the $7 organic blueberries. So Marin," said Denberg. "And one of my favorites that died: ‘You already pee in the shower to avoid flushing.’ I guess it seemed a bit too odd."

Ryan Lockhart, Division of Labor’s head designer, kept the art direction light and fun to balance how the campaign pushed at comfort zones.

"The campaign targets a mindset in the Bay Area, not a demographic – [but] people who care about the environment and are considering a new car." said Denberg. "And it is something to note; millenials want to change the world, but Generation X really has the means and the influence to make it happen."

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free