Here's J.R. Ewing bad-mouthing Chinese manufacturing and praising his own "made-in-Germany" solar panels to a sad-eyed child with a broken toy.

Wait for it...

 

Here's a link to another good ad from the firm. SolarWorld has both quality advertising as well as trade-policy advice -- they did win their anti-dumping case in the U.S. 

But that good-hearted Teutonic ribbing is tempered by SolarWorld's previous forays into these matters -- as seen in this SolarWorld AG Christmas card from last year.    

 

Subtle and not-so-subtle nationalism preying on people's fears is a standard advertising path into your brain.

As is sex.

Which is where Shoals went with their most recent, widely criticized and soon-terminated ad campaign. Here's a screen shot of the Shoals image and tagline along with a comment posted on the Miss Representation.org  blog with reporting by Imran Siddiquee.

 

A Twitter and Facebook protest ensued and although initially petulant, Shoals, a maker of solar balance-of-system gear such as connectors, cables and yes, racks, relented, apologized, pledged to pull the ad campaign, and went into damage-control mode. I've contacted the company to verify if it is in fact pulling the campaign.

Solar is on the world stage and is no longer the domain of hippies, survivalists and ad campaigns better suited for the solar market and attitudes of the 1970s. In today's maturing 25-gigawatt global market, it would make sense for Shoals to hire professionals and have thinking people designing their ad campaign. And to behave as if half of its customer base is made up of discerning, fully clothed women.

Proving a bit more of a class act than Shoals was the Trina (NYSE: TSL)-sponsored Patrick Dempsey of Dempsey Racing and Grey’s Anatomy. Trina and the racing team have also established a solar charity initiative. Dempsey gave a speech, also fully clothed, about how he is excited that solar industry is providing a clean source of renewable energy and that all of our hard work is going towards a better future. Below is a shot of Dempsey with Clare Ondrey of Greentech Media.

 

In an earlier article, we looked at the ad campaigns and marketing outreach from solar firms such as Yingli, Trina, and Solon.

"Advertising is more effective when it can educate, and solar has an education problem. Everyone knows that solar power is better for the environment than fossil fuels, but most people don't realize that it can be less expensive than electricity from the grid. The differences between various panels are too subtle to matter to most consumers, so in our advertising we focus on what consumers care about most: dollars and cents," said a spokesperson from SolarCity.

We welcome you to weigh-in with your take on solar trade show marketing and solar advertising.