GM Takes Heat For 'Stop Pedaling, Start Driving' College Ads


GM's 'Stop pedaling, start driving' ad.

GM's 'Stop pedaling, start driving' ad.

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GM uses a fairly effective visual to promote its college discount in recent ads.

A beautiful co-ed (for our younger readers, that means a female student), sitting in the passenger seat of a passing car, grins at a clearly embarrassed bicyclist, who tries in vain to hide his identity with an open hand.

As if the visual isn’t enough, GM backs it up with the headline, “Reality Sucks,” while encouraging college students to “Stop pedaling...start driving.”

The message GM is trying to portray is clear: Only socially rejected misfits ride bicycles on college campuses.

The League of American Bicyclists takes exception to that, pointing out that even discounted cars add long-term debt, pollute the environment, cost serious money to operate and often make drivers fat and unhealthy.

Bicycles, it contends, are easy to use, nearly free to ride (compared to driving a car, at least), promote exercise and provide some entertainment value to your daily commute.

The organization provided a link for readers to contact Chevrolet or General Motors, and its plan apparently worked. This morning, GM tweeted that, due to feedback received on the ad, it will be making changes to its college campaign.

For those of us who got through college entirely on two wheels--and still managed to enjoy a normal social life--we’ll just score this one in the “victory’ column.

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Comments (4)
  1. Just like the GOP president contenders who can't seem to keep their foot out of their mouths or rubbing egg on their own faces; GM not only stuck both feet in their mouth on that ad, they also rubbed egg all over their own face. What is GM's CEO thinking, or is he thinking?

    Didn't tobacco companies target children like that at one time with disastrous results? I reckon GM thinks that if it worked for tobacco, it'll work for them too.

  2. @James, I'm sure that Dan Akerson, GM's CEO, never even saw the ad. He's got people to do that for him.

  3. Why drag politics into this discussion? There are plenty of feet in the mouths of politicians of both parties. May I mention our VP?

  4. Yet more whining from the world's whiniest people... Nobody loves bicycles more than I do, but seriously... An automotive company actually advertising that it's cooler to drive a car than a bike, wow, what a shocker! I'm an American, too, but is the rule now one can never ever comment on anything, even in jest?
    Only James can make this into a huge disaster, but speaking of disasters, James, how's that Spark production going in China? And you claimed the Sonic, too. How about when you recently criticized Swedes after reading an article about a Swiss vehicle?
    Now that's a PR disaster! And, yes, tobacco companies marketing lethal products to children and GM using tongue-in-cheek advertising... EXACT SAME THING, obviously... Sad, sad man...

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