It is mind boggling sometimes how aloof some companies are, but leave it to the auto-industry to get lost in the boggle.
Yesterday, Tuesday, 10/11, I was logging into the Jack Kane Facebook page and noticed one of my friends had posted a status stating, “Seriously GM?” with a link to a BikePortland Blog Post. What I saw and read was just ridiculous.
The slogan was “Stop pedaling. . . start driving”
This ad was and is running through out college papers in the U.S. I tweeted GM calling them out and tweeted Bicycling Magazine raising awareness (if they did not know already). Some of my followers did the same. Yesterday evening GM did a 180-degree turn and is pulling the ads. Ah, the power of social media. This even made the big papers. Here is a LA Times article.
â€œThe content of the ad was developed with college students and was meant to be a bit cheeky and humorous and not meant to offend anybody,â€ said Tom Henderson, a GM spokesman.
I’ll cut Tom and GM some slack because:
It’s my turn to be cheeky and humorous.
Why not have ad campaigns like these:
I could go on and if these turn to ads, GM, you owe me a check (UPDATE 10/13 – a couple ads already exist, bummer!) or we can partner and sell a Jack Kane bike with every car. Loads of people PREFER to commute by bicycle. Students can navigate campuses quicker. When you graduate and have a job, especially in a big city like New York, Boston, LA, having a car is a burden. Bikes are cheaper, cleaner, and keep people in shape.
Regardless of your political leanings, this company was (and still is by some) called GOVERNMENT Motors. The government is trying to push green energy and cleaning up the environment. Then this happens? SERIOUSLY? Then again, this is like government balancing a budget. Should we be surprised?
Hey, I understand GM is a business and they need to make sales and attempt to achieve foreign words like “profits”. A lot of college grads, once they have a few pay-checks in the bank, want to buy a new car. However, vehicles and cyclists/commuters already have enough tension on the road. Why are advertisers trying to make matters worse?
My high school football coach was known for saying “the reality of the reality is” and would go to tell our team to get our heads in the game (Oh, those were the days and stronger words used). Well, the reality of “Reality Sucks” for GM is its image took another beating.
Clearly, they are NOT marketing towards me. I understand and embrace that. When I graduated college, I purchased a $6,000 bicycle. I really didn’t want a new car. (I still haven’t paid more for a car than a bicycle.) I have a cooler helmet. I talk to girls in cars (and they have to hide their smirks because I’m so good looking). GM was going after college kids who supposedly think bikes are for single nerds, losers, or poor-folk…
One last thing, I’ll need to go check my last couple of Bicycling Magazines to see if GM advertises in them… Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. Whatever your message is going to be, it needs to be consistent across the board. If it isn’t, you better spend a little extra with Bicycling Magazine next month…
This GM ad FAILS.
What are your thoughts of this situation?
UPDATE: 10/13 – A commenter informed me that they have similar ads to a couple of the ones I suggested. Thanks for letting me know. I honestly did not know about them.