General Motors is discovering that their ad campaign titled "Reality Sucks," that pokes fun at pedestrians and bicyclists, is not going over well with its target demographic: college students.
One of the ads features an embarrassed bicyclist with the tag-line "Stop pedaling...start driving."
The GM website also features an animation of a car driving by a girl, splashing her on the sidewalk.
The ads have been running in college newspapers across the country and have caused a public backlash, according to BikePortland.org (via copyranter).
What was GM's biggest mistake?
They were using these images (construed by many as anti-environment and anti-health) to market their vehicles to arguably the most physically and environmentally self-conscious people in the world.
How did GM think the average college student or academic would react to an ad that implores consumers to "Stop pedaling...start driving?"
Here's a sample response from a professor at UCLA (via Bikeportland.com):
Not only has GM violated the norms of decency with the use of this crudity in a student newspaper, UCLA’s Daily Bruin, it has violated the decency and courtesy appropriate of a debtor. GM, the company that required us taxpayers to bail it out in 2009, is now biting the young people who bear and will bear the environment and health damage of its gas swilling ways.
While every driver in LA knows that the reality which truly “sucks” is the grid-locked, car-loaded, obesity-enhancing, stress-generating car-toxicity of simple commuting in this region. The company that helped destroy public transit in Los Angeles is now running a campaign to convince students who travel by environment-, fitness-, and efficiency-friendly bicycles that they are inferior to those who travel in highly discounted mini-trucks.
Shameless, isn’t it?
Since the initial outcry against the ad campaign, GM has profusely apologized via their twitter feed and has announced plans to pull the ads altogether.
(H/T Business Insider)