Huffington, NRDC Take On Automakers

DETROIT Conservative columnist Arianna Huffington has teamed with the Natural Resources Defense Council for a TV spot challenging the Big Three U.S. car companies and Washington, D.C., policy makers to deliver more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Huffington is holding a news conference on Wednesday in Washington to unveil the spot, which breaks on Thursday in major markets including Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and San Francisco, a Huffington representative said.

The spot “turns the typical slick car commercial on its head,” according to a statement from The Detroit Project, the initiative Huffington founded to put pressure on the auto industry and lawmakers. The organization argues that there is technology currently available to routinely manufacture cars and trucks that get at least 40 miles per gallon, “a change that would save two million barrels of oil a day, more than we currently import from Saudi Arabia,” according to the statement.

Two earlier spots from The Detroit Project that broke in January generated some controversy for equating sport utility vehicles with terrorism.

Lawrence Bender, producer of Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting, and director Scott Burns, a former Goodby, Silverstein & Partners creative staffer who worked on the “Got Milk?” campaign, donated their services through A Band Apart, Bender’s production company, for all three Detroit Project spots.

Bender and Huffington co-founded Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars (AFEC), a nonprofit group that supports The Detroit Project and is soliciting donations to cover media costs for the new commercial.

The NRDC is a nonprofit organization comprised of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970 and headquartered in New York, the NRDC has more than 550,000 members nationwide.