Oh, General Motors, why do you work so hard to turn people away from your products? You've done so much these past few years to appeal to a new type of car buyer, someone who hasn't set foot in a GM-branded dealership in years (or maybe ever), with this new-fangled Chevy Volt and your corporate "greener vision." You've gone out of your way to promote the environmental benefits of the Volt, and that's a message that resonates with people who, well, people who care about the environment.
Then you go and do this.
For a while now, GM has been pushing an ad campaign aimed at college students called "Reality Sucks." One of the spots (pictured) pretty clearly implies that bicycling is a shameful act, saying students should "stop pedaling... start driving." It sort of floated under the radar until Bike Portland got a hold of it, and now GM is under fire. As the League of American Bicyclists put it:
To call this ad tone-deaf to today's college kids might be the understatement of the year (see here and here). Lots of college kids love biking and the bad news for GM is that these students are exactly the group of people who might one day consider buying a Volt or the just-announced Spark EV. They are also studious types who take note of corporate blunders. Well, GM, at least you wised up kind of quick once the masses pointed out inanity, pulling the ad and apologizing via Twitter. The kids do still like The Twitterz, right?
If you are a student looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt, care little about the environment, and want to lump two tons of steel around campus while paying through the nose for insurance, gas, and parking...General Motors has got a perfect deal for you. Bonus: it'll make you fat and unhealthy! All you have to do is give up that dorky bicycle that's easy to use, practically free, gets you some exercise and is actually fun to ride.
*UPDATE: A bicycle manufacturer responds with a clever twist.