The life of a model/actor is hard. "Oh, right", you say, "lying on a sofa and staring vacantly into a bank of cameras is way tougher than military service or manual labor or having no job at all." But hey, we've seen All About Eve and Valley of the Dolls and America's Next Top Model. Like Gina Gershon's character says in Show Girls, we understand that model/actors live in constant fear of someone younger and hungrier pushing them down the stairs.
Not surprisingly, most of us here at High Gear Media turned our backs on the high-stakes Entertainment-Industrial Complex and chose far more sensible, stress-free careers in journalism. But not Fabio.
Fabio is a loner, a rebel. For decades, he's used his trademark tresses like octopus tentacles, squeezing his way into America's collective heart. (The metaphor doesn't quite work, but you get what we're after.) Most of Fabio's oeuvre rests on romance novel covers and the occasional margarine commercial, but now, the 51-year-old Italian model is turning on Americans in a different way: he's encouraging drivers to plug in...electric vehicles.
Perhaps you recall a couple of weeks ago, when our colleages at AllCarsElectric wrote about Plug-In America's new campaign to raise awareness about electric vehicles? Well, the organization has just dropped a new spot featuring Fabio in a short, nonspeaking role. (Which is cheaper for PIA, on the off-chance Fabio charged for his time.) Have a look:
Apart from Fabio's ashy-green dye job, which might be the handiwork of the same hairstylist who keeps trying to make Arnie a redhead, the man ain't looking too shabby. We're not entirely sure how he's connected to the EV movement -- spot producer Alexandra Paul simply says, "I cannot explain it, but the man's still got it" -- but at the very least, he makes for a good sight gag.
The larger questions of (a) what this'll do for the EV movement and (b) why Plug-In America opted for 501(c)(3) status instead of the more advocacy-friendly 501(c)(4) remain mysteries. If you're so inclined, feel free to scan the press release below for answers.
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BRING IN THE FACE! PLUG IN AMERICA'S THIRD PSA STARS FABIO
Seven Short Spots Entertain and Educate About Benefits of Plug-In Electric Vehicles
LOS ANGELES, CA-Nov. 30, 2010--Plug In America today releases "Hype," the third of its seven educational Public Service Announcements (PSAs), this one starring Fabio. Plug In America's first two PSAs have been snatched up by Hulu, where they're running now, and are hitting the television airwaves during such programs as "EnergyNOW!" a weekly news-magazine shown on a Washington D.C. ABC affiliate.
Why Fabio for PSA number three?
"We needed someone who was the epitome of handsome, manly and suave," says actress and Plug In America founding board member Alexandra Paul, who spearheaded and produced the spots. "George Clooney is an EV owner, but was working when we filmedt. Fabio happens to own a lot of fast cars and motorcycles and was very impressed with the high performance of the Tesla in which he was driven to the set. And yes, he still has that magnetism. I cannot explain it, but the man's still got it."
The seven PSAs, each between 30 and 45 seconds, were written and produced by a professional cast and crew of 60, many of whom have driven EVs for up to nine years. They donated their time to Plug In America, the nonprofit organization leading the nation’s plug-in vehicle movement. Another new spot will be released roughly every three weeks through February. Click here to see the first spot, "Cell Phone," and here to see the second, "Ocean Crude." These and "Hype" are also viewable on Plug In America’s website. Their embed codes are below. Click here to view "The Making of Plug In America's PSAs," a 27-minute video.
The PSA's spoof Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ads, replacing Macs with Electric Vehicles (EVs) and PCs with gas cars. Driving home the superiority of plug-ins, they address topics such as the true cost of gasoline, the endless maintenance of gas cars, the ease of plugging in to charge, oil spills and range anxiety.
“The PSAs are designed to engage viewers through humor, then educate them about the benefits of plug-in vehicles,” said Paul, a long-time environmental activist also known for her work on TV’s “Baywatch.”
The spots all link to Plug In America’s recently updated website (details here), which includes pages tracking global production and delivery of plug-in vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and chargers, state and federal purchasing incentives, common plug-in vehicle myths and congressional support for plug-ins.
Actors featured in the spots, which were shot in Santa Monica, CA earlier this year, include Stephen Zimpel, appearing as "Electric," and Marvin Campbell, appearing as “Gas.” Campbell has driven a Toyota RAV4 EV for years and owns two of them. The PSAs were directed by Eric Swenson, a visual effects supervisor and Tesla owner; written by Swenson and fellow Plug In America executive committee member Jeff U’Ren, an Emmy Award-winning editor and former GM EV1 driver; and edited by U’Ren.
In a matter of days, Plug In America raised thousands of dollars from its members and supporters around the globe to pay the hard costs of production.
“We’re at a historic turning point with the imminent delivery of the cleanest-running vehicles ever manufactured,” said Plug In America President Dan Davids. “Our most important job now is to educate consumers about their value. Our goal is rapid mass adoption.”
Others who volunteered their talents to produce the PSAs include Peter Krajewski, director of photography; Steven Latham, producer; Leslie Wilson, assistant director/line producer; Cambria Hankin, casting director; and actors Colette Divine and J. Karen Thomas, both of whom appeared in “Who Killed the Electric Car?” They have driven a Toyota RAV4 EV for more than five years.
About Plug In America: Plug In America is leading the nation’s plug-in vehicle movement. The nonprofit organization works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment. For more information: http://www.pluginamerica.org.