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French authorities pull bicycle ad because it makes cars look bad

By Tim Robson, 02 Jul 2020 Car News

VanMoof ad banned

In a topsy-turvy world, this tale of a bike maker’s ad being pulled because it makes cars look bad is actually believable

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.”

MORE Bike lanes explode in city centres as COVID-19 changes our habits

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.

VanMoof S3 | VanMoof

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.

MORE Environmentalists push for ban on all car advertising

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.

Ford, too, has had to pull ads featuring the Raptor, while this banned Audi ad showed almost no driving in it.

NOW CHECK OUT The coolest car ads of all time