A French cycling company has had an ad pulled from TV by advertising authorities because it allegedly created a “climate of fear” around the car. Sacre bleu!
VanMoof’s cool ad of a car morphing into a pushie amongst a dystopian cityscape raised the ire of the French standards board, known as the ARPP, which demanded the ad be pulled off the air, even though it has already been screened in the Netherlands and Germany.
“Some images in the reflection of the car are, in our opinion, unbalanced and discredit the entire car sector,” said the ARPP in a statement. “The images of factories/chimneys and an accident create a climate of fear. So they will have to be adapted.”
“We cannot afford to put entire sectors in a bad light. That is an important precondition for fair competition,” added the ARPP’s chairman Stéphane Martin.
“In some areas, that commercial goes too far, with images that are unnecessary, such as the smoke from factory chimneys, which have nothing to do with the car industry.”
As you can imagine, it didn’t go down well with the premium bicycle maker, which specialises in urban bikes in both pedal and electric flavours.
The awesomely named boss of the 11-year-old company, Taco Carlier, insisted the ad would remain unchanged.
“It is amazing that car companies are allowed to cover up their environmental problems while censoring those who question this issue,” he said.
A VanMoof bike
“In the commercial, cars reflect the rat race of the past, inviting viewers to rethink their modes of transportation in the city for a cleaner, greener future.
“Questioning the status quo will always lead to a confrontation, but we wanted to achieve that from the beginning.”
The ban comes as the cycling industry worldwide has seen an explosion in demand for bikes during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the French car industry has been the beneficiary of large bail-out loans from the government.
Locally, car companies have long had to deal with the vagaries of advertising standards boards, which will act if a single complaint is received about an ad.
Volkswagen has borne the brunt of the Ad Standards Australia board in recent years, despite the ad in question here being mostly made up of model cars.