How to Sell High-Speed Rail, Mad Men Style How to Sell High-Speed Rail, Mad Men Style

How to Sell High-Speed Rail, Mad Men Style

by Ben Jervey

March 12, 2011

It's totally perplexing, but high-speed rail has become a controversial issue in American politics. Governors like Florida's Rick Scott have been turning away federal rail funds for purely ideological reasons, ignoring the evidence from around the world that such investment in infrastructure pays huge economic and social dividends.

Like so many good ideas, high-speed rail needs better messaging. Leave it to the brainy manipulators of Mad Men to come up with ways to better sell high-speed rail to Americans. In this Funny or Die short, set in a Madison Avenue office in 1965, watch the mad men brainstorm a high-speed rail campaign.

The Funny or Die folks joined forces with U.S. PIRG to produce the video for their high-speed rail campaign. Speaking of which, go to post haste and send a message to your senator insisting that they support high-speed rail.

The sad irony of the clever video is that the Pete Campbell character—who is so keen on selling America on rail—is convinced by colleague Harry Crane that trains don't need an ad campaign, because trains just make too much sense. Cars need marketing, as they're so expensive, polluting, and stressful.

Of course, we already knew that Vincent Kartheiser—who plays that smarmy ad guy Campbell—likes to ride the bus. It's nice to see him offering his talents to another positive transit-related cause.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
Join the discussion
Recently on GOOD
Sign up to receive the best of GOOD delivered to your inbox each and every weekday
NSA finally stops controversial spying program, but surveillance reform is far from over.
How to Sell High-Speed Rail, Mad Men Style