Going Going Bike

Oct 132011

Social media has power and doesn’t US car maker GM know it. Over the past week, GM has debuted an ad across US college student newspapers encouraging students to buy two specific models of motor vehicles it makes.

Nothing wrong with that, but the advert featured a photo of a cyclist next to a car and told the students to “stop pedalling… start driving” with a big headline over the photo saying “Reality Sucks”.

Tip off

This outraged one UCLA professor who tipped off popular US biking blog Bike Portland about the advert on Tuesday. From those small acorns, the whole world quickly got to know about the GM advert as news of GM’s anti-cycling message got twittered, facebooked and blogged by the cycling community.

Very quickly, GM’s twitter handle and Facebook page was handling comments from angry cyclists and students. On Wednesday, this power saw GM respond by announcing they would pull the ad from any future rotation in student newspapers.


GM has been at pains to offer an unreserved apology over the advert. It’s twitter and Facebook feed is a steady stream of apologies to people over any offence caused by the advert.

The car company however maintains that the tone of the advert was “humorous and not meant to offend anybody” and that the content of the ad had been developed with college students.

Giant’s response

US bike maker Giant gave the best response to the GM ad with its own advert (as seen as below). It makes the point that if a student is looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt than they can choose a car. Owning a bike however has low yearly costs and doesn’t make you fat.

All in all, the advert was a bit of a public relations disaster for GM, a case in not how to market a product, and of course a victory for the cycling community. Thank you social media.

See also

Stop and proof campaign brings results

A bicycle that plays vinyl records

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

  One Response to “Cycling community show its power”

  1. [...] I’m not a link trawler, the CTC dug this one up: http://www.goinggoingbike.com/blog/worldwide-cycling-community-show-its-power/ [...]

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