France bans e-bike ad for discrediting the automobile sector
Thursday, 02 July 2020
A new advert by Dutch electric bicycle maker VanMoof has been banned from French television after being accused of being motivated to “discredit the automobile sector […] while creating a climate of anxiety” by French advertising watchdog ARPP.
The advert (below) shows gridlocked freeways and jam-packed subways reflected in a car’s bodywork before the car melts, replaced by one of their bikes. This imagery, however, proved to be enough to catch the interest of the ARPP, who sent a letter to the company saying the ad cast an unfair light on the auto industry, and violated advertising and marketing code, according to reports.
In a blog post titled “the truth hurts” VanMoof sets out their rebuttal to the ARPP, drawing attention to a recent pledge to reinforce sustainability set out by the watchdog.
“It’s especially perplexing when you consider that the reflected images weren’t created for this commercial – it’s all archival documentary footage that’s freely available in the public domain,” staffer Peter Gigg explained in a post. “If everyday footage of real-world transport is going to create a “climate of anxiety,” maybe someone should try to do something about that world. Y’know… by offering alternative means of transportation,” he added.
The ARPP has requested that VanMoof change the advert before it could be rebroadcast. At this time, VanMoof has not made any announcement that it will do so, with the advert still hosted online.