Reality Sucks For GM’s “Stop Pedaling…Start Driving” Campaign

After running this ad in student newspapers across the US, GM is getting an earful. Here are some of the best commentary we’ve read about it here and here. And here’s GM’s wussy “Oh, sorry, we didn’t really put any thought into it” comments on twitter.

Update: Check out the “revamped” ad one of our readers, Hadji Corona, sent us after the break.

gm bad ad


Adam - 10/12/11 - 9:27am

Go to GM and please leave a comment. It’s are responsibility!

Mr Bojangles - 10/12/11 - 9:50am

this is no surprise coming from the automaker whom besides their recent stellar business plans, still promotes gas guzzling SUVs with 24″ wheels like it was nobodys business. Ford promotes amazing vehicles around the world, not just excessive gas guzzling American POS. Support Ford!

Chad - 10/12/11 - 10:32am

This ad confuses me. It looks like the chick in the car is checking out the guy on the bike. Why would he want to stop riding his bike if he has girls checking him out all the time? Not only is this a stupid ad idea, it is poorly done!

Justin - 10/12/11 - 10:34am

Looks like GM is off of my list of potential car purchases.

Steve M - 10/12/11 - 11:03am

Please, how many bike companies have “cars suck” ads? You need both and each are trying to sell what they make. As the late, great Bill Hicks said- “If you are in marketing- suck a tailpipe, do us a favor- kill yourselves.”

LP - 10/12/11 - 11:04am

Reality is: GM sucks!

Stuart - 10/12/11 - 11:07am

…My bike is worth more than many cars on the road.

Shawn Powell - 10/12/11 - 11:20am

Interesting premise. I used to own and race Corvettes and yet I also own a bike company. I’m also an an avid bike rider. Its just a stupid ad. It hurts GM. It makes them look like an old toothless T-rex.

Topmounter - 10/12/11 - 11:42am

At least the quality of their ads is wholly consistent with the quality of their vehicles.

I always pick the Ford at the car rental place when I’m traveling.

Luis - 10/12/11 - 1:03pm

GM, Ford, Cadillac… They all got saved by those guys they now criticize when things went wrong. At least, by their taxes. And still they keep on building insane cars, too big for anyone but for those who try to (over)compensate their poor performance in some intimate regions…

Instead of bullying the bike community they could do better with their time and focus on providing efficient and affordable hybrid or electric cars!!! That way, they would be also cutting USA’s needs for oil, and thus they would help reduce the country’s needs for more and more war.

phlat albert - 10/12/11 - 1:19pm

i think its wonderful that the marketing dept can talk the execs into using their own stash of dope and kegs of beer with the college kids and parent focus group to get the desired outcome for a campaign and product. prop$$$$$ gmc! most companies just put a RedBull can in the pic but hey…….

Steve M - 10/12/11 - 2:50pm

I think you guys are devaluing the fact that the ad is for college grads who, one would assume, have both the worldview and and the intelligence to figure this type of advertising out. Of course if you are lucky enough to find a job and it is some distance away from where you live- then you are in for one hell of a bike ride each way.

Nate - 10/12/11 - 3:48pm

Steve M has it right here.

Why are we as cyclists allowed to bash gasoline-powered vehicles and the companies that make them while looking like saints, yet when a car company turns the tables they are demonized?

sean - 10/12/11 - 3:58pm

@ Nate – because last time I checked, people who own cars don’t have to breathe in exhaust from bikes.

Ben - 10/12/11 - 4:24pm

Nate – because we quite rightfully occupy the moral high ground. Driving and riding are not equivalent. Driving a car is great – for me – and has negative consequences for everyone else. Riding a bike is also great (on a nice day at least) and has negligible impact on everyone else.

If there’s an argument that cycling is not as green as it’s cracked up to be, then i’m up or that. But saying something “sucks” isn’t criticism, it’s abuse.

Kim - 10/12/11 - 4:33pm

We cyclists are a self righteous bunch. It always amuses me the “cyclists” that drive up to the trail or race in their gas hog autos. Maybe policing ourselves first is in order.

thatsjarrod - 10/12/11 - 5:14pm

More proof that cyclists are bitter soulless beings without any sense of humor that take everything way too seriously.

Chris - 10/12/11 - 5:15pm

@ Adam: “It’s are responsibility!” Really? Might want to work on that before firing off an angry missive to GM.

From an ad perspective it’s poorly executed. I asked several friends who work in advertising what they thought of it and the universal opinion is that it’s terrible. I really doubt GM actually pulled this because a bunch of whining cyclists got their undies in a twist. More like the ad was only going to run once but when the controversy kicked in GM decided to claim they’re pulling it as an effort to sensitive. It’s also a teeny campaign – print ads in college papers probably don’t even account for a rounding error in their total media spend so even if they did pull the ad it’s an insignificant financial hit to them and they more than got their money back from the added media impressions brought on by the controversy. Either way, it’s a win for them. GM looks responsive for correcting their mistake while the cyclists just look like a bunch of uptight, hypocritical, self-righteous jerks who can’t take a joke. Cyclists have basically reinforced their own negative stereotypes in the eyes of many non-cyclists.

Gillis - 10/12/11 - 5:47pm

Just read GM is pulling the ad out of rotation:

Chase - 10/12/11 - 7:00pm

In GM’s defense, they brand overseas-made bicycles as GMC, sell them in big box department stores, and they do indeed suck.

Bobby H - 10/12/11 - 7:27pm

This was their last “Bailout” demographic remaining!!

dickl5455 - 10/12/11 - 7:35pm

So much for the government’s (which owns GM) green initiative.

Dylan - 10/12/11 - 7:45pm

I’ve got laid for riding my bike far more than by driving a car.

Matt - 10/12/11 - 8:34pm

To me it looks like they are going after the “bike because that is all you could afford at the time college demographic”. I’m not sure how big that demographic is, but the ad doesn’t seem harsh toward cyclists. Chris pretty much said everything else I was thinking. Quit whining.

Furious George - 10/12/11 - 9:34pm

The woman’s driving a Honda.

Topmounter - 10/12/11 - 9:50pm

The -real- point is that GM does not have to (nor should they) take a dump on cycling (commuting or otherwise) to sell cars… at least not if they want me a customer… of course I wouldn’t buy their vehicles anyway, so maybe they don’t care and none of this matters.

Dave - 10/12/11 - 11:03pm

My bikes look good when I travel with them on top of my new Ford Focus hatchback.

Russ Morin - 10/12/11 - 11:30pm

Mud slinging is fun!

I wonder how many bicycles would have ever been delivered to any hipster’s local bike shop without autos…

WDW - 10/13/11 - 9:45am

Ha hah!!! VINDICATION (for my opinion)! This ad only shows what all NORMAL bicycle-riders are thinking… wear a stupid looking styrofoam helmet, and a gay-looking skin-tight spandex ballet tutu while you’re riding your bicycle, and people will laugh at you! Wear normal clothes (jeans and a T-shirt) and ditch the fake helmets, and you won’t get laughed at as much! (Or be embarrassed to be seen in public on your bicycle!) Current bicycle clothing styles are SO GAY!

BK - 10/13/11 - 8:39pm

This is an unfortunate failure by the agency in charge of marketing and advertising for GM. The majority of college students and recent grads don’t have the cash to purchase new vehicles. According to an article in USA today from 2010 “Last year, consumers 50 and older spent $87 billion on cars”. The baby boomers alone spent around $2.9 trillion in 2010.

Compare that to the measly $14.8 billion car makers projected they would make off of college students in 2004 (survey by Alloy).

And let’s face it, that was a projection. Back when the world economies were in better shape. I doubt that number has gone up since then.

I wasn’t able to find a more recent statistic on college student new car purchases. I would hazard a guess that the latest generation of young marketers are too enamored with ‘sexy young people’ to stop wasting client money on garbage like this GM ad.

SteveL - 10/14/11 - 11:48am

In Europe the GM-made (Opel/Vauxhall branded) Corsa hatchback can come with a built in bike rack. (video: ) . This would be something to offer: a low cost car which lets you carry two bikes around without paying $$$ for the pickup. Rather than offend the customer, embrace it. But no, they are still trying to sell the idea that you need a pickup. Doomed

Dave - 10/14/11 - 3:42pm

WDW: Go ahead and not wear a helmet, just means higher doctor bills WHEN you get hit by a car. I assume you are either a BMX rider or a hipster riding a fixie and somehow consider fashion to be more important than the ability to stay alive in a bad crash? Helmets save lives man.

As to the spandex stuff, I was with you until I rode a bike more than 10 miles in one go. Jeans are HORRIBLE riding that distance-especially on a hot day. The cooling features of cycling clothing outweigh the ignorance of a bunch of random kids who don’t know better. I can say I have NEVER seen a person in a “gay-looking skin-tight spandex ballet tutu” riding a bike. I have a feeling that some random fixie kid who does barspins will start doing so after seeing your comment (assuming you haven’t already).

I have seen more BMX riders and hipsters laughed at for wearing their sister’s pants than I have seen road or mountain riders for spandex. Grow up.

Skibby - 10/26/11 - 4:58pm

GM is correct that “Reality Sucks”. However, the Reality is that my bikes are more dependable than my p.o.s GM car.

TibetanMonkey - 12/14/11 - 4:43pm

Reality is… we cyclists are worth less than a dog. The message is only those who can’t afford a car, ride a bike. And that is not necessarily the case. Once that perception is accepted by drivers, they start treating you like an animal. Perhaps worse.

JW - 12/16/11 - 1:07pm

Ask the 32,000 thousand Americans who died in car wrecks last year, not just the ones that die on impact, but the ones that suffered for hours trapped in the wreckage, lapsed in and out of conciseness on the way to the emergency room and then finally succumb to death 12 hours later while there loved ones suffer grief stricken in the waiting room.

Yes GM, FORD, TOYOTA… Reality Really Suck’s

And what about all the over weight [Oil dependency is the number one cause of premature death]

Lack of exercise is the leading cause of stupidity, anxiety and insomnia.

Our dependency on foreign oil accounts for 51% of our national debt.

WOW, cars really are coffins

JW - 12/16/11 - 1:18pm

Hi Russ, ya know you can deliver a bike with a truck or even better a train.

Just don’t do it by Air, they charge a fortune, and have all been bankrupted by the price of Oil.

GM is just a slave to big oil.

I would love it if they would go big with real solutions and bring back Detroit.

Get Big oil out of America. Big oil is much worse than the pussies we call the taliban.

Grow a set, ride a bike.

Oh and if your a chick, and you pick the guy with the truck over the guy with the bike, you can kiss your future blood goodby.

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