Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS

GM Pulls Anti-Cycling Ad 18

GM Anti-Cycling Ad

GM ad provided by BikePortland.org

GM faced intense heat from the bicycling advocacy world after the League of American Bicyclists brought attention to a GM ad aiming to sell cars to students. The ad is called “Reality Sucks” and reads “Stop pedaling… start driving” while showing a dorky guy on a bicycle trying to hide his face because he’s embarrassed about being on a bike.

The Road.cc website puts it aptly:

“Reality Sucks, says GM… so does being unfit, in debt, stuck in traffic and paying through the wahoo for gasoline”

GM announced today through its twitter account that it is pulling the ad from rotation:

GM Twitter Message

Copenhagenize accuses the automobile industry of striking back against the bicycle advocacy world by “subtle use of imagery to underline their point that cycling is geeky, only for poor souls and can’t compete with the sexed up car ownership world”.

Does the car industry feel threatened by the rise in bicycling in cities across the globe?

GM singlehandedly brought an end to electric streetcars by the 1970′s, they crushed virtually their entire EV1 fleet without a good explanation, and now they are fighting back against cycling.

Should bicycling advocates trust GM given their history?

ZipCar recently faced criticism over an ad about cycling – though it didn’t belittle cyclists nearly as much as the GM ad.

Car companies should embrace bicycling culture. People who use bicycles often own cars – or at the very least they use cars occasionally. With bicycling on the rise in cities around the world it’s in the auto industry’s interest to think of new innovative ways to capture the hearts of bicyclists rather than marginalize them.

For example, GM could partner with a bicycle company and throw in a free bicycle for every car purchase. This would be a much better approach to market their cars to students.

Perhaps the tagline could read: “Get a free bicycle with a purchase of a GM vehicle. The bike gets you to class on time and the GM car gets home on time for Mom’s weekend dinner”.

GM has done the right thing by pulling the ads out of rotation, but the truly right thing to do would have been not to run the ads in the first place.

i share the road

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

Related Articles:

  • Guest

    What you can’t see is her growing muffin top, the 500 calorie latte in her cupholder and the beginnings of a case of heart disease or was that a case of the car-a-betes. Who knows.
    OR
    Maybe they just ran him off the road and are acting like jerk-offs… either way best not to make eye contact!

  • Guest

    What you can’t see is her growing muffin top, the 500 calorie latte in her cupholder and the beginnings of a case of heart disease or was that a case of the car-a-betes. Who knows.
    OR
    Maybe they just ran him off the road and are acting like jerk-offs… either way best not to make eye contact!

  • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com Mr.S.
  • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com/ Mr.S.
  • http://bicyclestc.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    I believe Kia often shows bikes and cars mixing in a positive way.

    I guess the good news is that cycling is obviously taking off in North America, so much so GM has to target bikes in their ads.

    One thing they fail to show in the ad? The frustration on the drivers face. Perhaps the passenger they show is actually ‘checking out’ the fit cyclist?!?

  • http://thecitycyclist.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    I believe Kia often shows bikes and cars mixing in a positive way.

    I guess the good news is that cycling is obviously taking off in North America, so much so GM has to target bikes in their ads.

    One thing they fail to show in the ad? The frustration on the drivers face. Perhaps the passenger they show is actually ‘checking out’ the fit cyclist?!?

  • Guest

    IMO, the right thing to do would be to fire the morons who came up with this ad campaign.

  • Guest

    IMO, the right thing to do would be to fire the morons who came up with this ad campaign.

  • Smit H

    Oh no! I’m in shape, debt free and not stuck in traffic!

  • Smit H

    Oh no! I’m in shape, debt free and not stuck in traffic!

  • Smit H

    I drive a truck, I admit it. I also live in the Midwest where it snows, rains, and is sometimes down right miserable. I’m not a super cyclist, and I hate riding in the rain. But I commute-by-bike when I can, and that alone makes a huge difference. The problem with most of these drivers is that they are transfixed in their ways. For most Americans, especially those who live outside major metropolitan areas with mass transit, the thought of taking a bus is as foreign as Afghanistan. Gotta change our culture first.

  • Smit H

    I drive a truck, I admit it. I also live in the Midwest where it snows, rains, and is sometimes down right miserable. I’m not a super cyclist, and I hate riding in the rain. But I commute-by-bike when I can, and that alone makes a huge difference. The problem with most of these drivers is that they are transfixed in their ways. For most Americans, especially those who live outside major metropolitan areas with mass transit, the thought of taking a bus is as foreign as Afghanistan. Gotta change our culture first.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000528099885 Matt McCay

    Got to share this one…kind of ironic. When I met my wife (my freshman year HS fantasy girl by the way) at the age of 22, again…I hit her car with my motorcycle, package store parking lot, extended forks, balancing the 6 pack yadayada…anyways, I took the motorcycle apart, and started back up on my bicycle, commuting daily to work. Left a poem on Jans car every morning on my way to work…..well, this “dork on a bike” got his dream girl, and 30 years later, realizes he needs to end this post and go bicycling…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000528099885 Matt McCay

    Got to share this one…kind of ironic. When I met my wife (my freshman year HS fantasy girl by the way) at the age of 22, again…I hit her car with my motorcycle, package store parking lot, extended forks, balancing the 6 pack yadayada…anyways, I took the motorcycle apart, and started back up on my bicycle, commuting daily to work. Left a poem on Jans car every morning on my way to work…..well, this “dork on a bike” got his dream girl, and 30 years later, realizes he needs to end this post and go bicycling…

  • willkbikes

    I was glad to see they pulled this ad. I ride and drive, because that’s what works for me. I couldn’t drive the whole way in to work, because I’d never find a parking spot. But I can’t ride the whole way either, since I can’t take my bike on the interstate. I’ve actually got a folding bike, and I keep it in my trunk, and I drive when and I need to drive, and I ride when I can. Reality would *really* suck for me otherwise.

  • willkbikes

    I was glad to see they pulled this ad. I ride and drive, because that’s what works for me. I couldn’t drive the whole way in to work, because I’d never find a parking spot. But I can’t ride the whole way either, since I can’t take my bike on the interstate. I’ve actually got a folding bike, and I keep it in my trunk, and I drive when and I need to drive, and I ride when I can. Reality would *really* suck for me otherwise.

  • Pingback: Canadian Cyclist Harassed At U.S. Border ← The Urban Country

  • Pingback: Giant Responds to GM Ad ← The Urban Country