Methyl 3-dimethylamino-2-cyanocrotonate (MDACC) has a remarkably weak carbon–carbon double bond. It has strong electron-withdrawing groups on one end and electron-donating groups on the other: a so-called push–pull ethylene. To investigate this unusual electronic structure, we have determined the crystal structure and measured both the 13C and 15N NMR chemical-shift tensors. These measurements are supplemented by shielding-tensor calculations done with density functional methods. The large difference (approximately 100 ppm) between isotropic chemical shifts of the two alkenyl carbons reflects a large charge release from the electron-donating side of C=C double bond to the electron-withdrawing groups. Comparison of the calculated orientations of the principal components of the alkenyl carbons obtained from ab initio calculations shows that the primary changes in charge density occur in the molecular plane. On the other hand, smaller charge density changes above and below the plane of the C=C double bond establish the conjugation of donor and acceptor groups with π* and π molecular orbitals of the central double bond, respectively, which lowers the barrier to rotation about this bond.