“I’ll be back”… “Get to the choppa!”… “Hasta la vista, baby.” Action star and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger got famous by delivering some of the best one-liners in movie history. These probably weren’t all meant to be funny, but the now self-aware Schwarzenegger has decided to embrace that for some major environmental good.
He’s starring as a gas-loving car salesman in “Kicking Gas,” a series of short comedy skits designed to encourage people to convert to eclectic vehicles. The skits are filmed hidden-camera style with Schwarzenegger using some of the worst lines and logic ever (some of which riff on his famous ones) to try to convince electric car customers to revert to fossil fuel rides. “The pump is sometimes more satisfying than sex,” he says to an unconvinced elderly couple at one point. “You want a tax credit or do you to have want street credit?” he adds later on.
The spoof doubles as a public awareness campaign and will air online and in California with some of the best lines used on billboards. They’re backed by Veloz, a nonprofit that encourages electric car adoption through different public and private partnerships, policies, and consumer education. This ad is part of the launch of a new campaign and website called Electric For All.
They idea of using comedy as a selling point came after a UC Davis study showed that while cost, range, choice, and charging locations were once all large detractors to people going electric, the biggest roadblock to adoption is a general lack of knowledge and basic consumer awareness. There are more than 40 different makes and models on the marketplace.
Of course, Schwarzenegger is pretty recognizable even in a wig and mustache—and especially when he starts talking. The series doesn’t make clear if the shoppers are sharing truly candid reactions, or if they are simply actors already in on the joke. Either way, the ideology fits. As a governor of California, Schwarzenegger pushed the state to create a fuel emissions cap for automobile manufacturers. Now it’s sort of funny to see him fail at schilling for gas. At one point, he just stands on a street corner, screaming a nonsensical offer that might just double as a memorable catchphrase: “Come with me if you want to lift!”