SEE IT: The Pro-Bike Van Moof Ad That’s Too Hot for French TV
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:
Here’s a Van Moof bike ad that the French government doesn’t want you to see. pic.twitter.com/mDXmNw2WRM
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) June 30, 2020
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.