Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Car ads

SEE IT: The Pro-Bike Van Moof Ad That’s Too Hot for French TV

Maybe the melting car was over the top?

It's the bike ad the French government doesn't want you to see.

According to Van Moof, the bike manufacturer, French media authorities have barred media outlets from running the company's latest ad for the company's S3 electric bike on the grounds that depictions of the damage caused by auto driving create “a climate of anxiety.”

Here's the ad. You decide:

The ad is fairly straightforward, using a sleek sports car as a screen onto which are projected the evils of car-based transportation systems: the traffic, the pollution, the spacial inefficiency, the road violence. Then the car melts, and the company slogan emerges, "Time to ride the future," accompanied by a singer saying, "There's a new day dawning."

The final frames feature the bike standing there, looking like the solution. But French consumers won't get to see it, thanks to the ruling by the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité. Van Moof criticized the independent French board's decision on its blog today, and praised the ad, called "Reflections."

"By flipping the visual language of a car advert on its head, we point to a world where people are free to choose a different kind of mobility, one which benefits their environment as much as it does themselves," the company said. "Unfortunately, the self-regulated ARPP argue that aspects of the film 'discredit the automobile sector ... while creating a climate of anxiety,' and have banned the film from airing on French television."

The ad is part of a small movement to supplant car-culture imagery with similarly sexy come-ons for sustainable transportation. In 2016, Stromer made an ad that used the car culture's own tropes against it.

"The Stromer marketing folks blatantly copied one of the most persuasive car commercials running today: the Matthew McConaughey/Lincoln MKC spots," Jonathan Maus wrote in his appreciation in Bike Portland. "Notice how the music, the look, the feel, even several scenes of the Stromer ad above mimic the Lincoln ad below. Notice the droning piano, the handsome, confident, and wealthy star getting ready for work, the reach for the key (that he passes over for his phone), and so on…"

We've reached out to Van Moof and French authorities for more information and will update this story if we hear back.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Are Still Unsafe

Traffic deaths are declining for those ensconced in thousands of pounds of steel. For the rest of us, not so much.

April 12, 2024

Measure HLA Is Now Officially Law for L.A. City

Check the city maps to find what bus, bike, and walk improvements are coming to streets in your neighborhood.

April 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Women’s Transportation Seminar

Sara Stickler of WTS International on women’s expertise in transportation and opportunities for mentorship, leadership and education.

April 11, 2024

Don’t Call Thursday’s Headlines a Comeback

Transit ridership isn't all the way back yet, but it continues to climb after collapsing during COVID. Unfortunately, the financial effects of the pandemic on transit agencies still linger.

April 11, 2024

Long-Awaited Report Reveals Widespread Parking Crime by NYPD

The overdue report confirms years of Streetsblog reporting on placard abuse, illegal parking and enforcement failures by the police under two mayors.

April 11, 2024
See all posts