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Giant flips the script on GM

By now you have probably heard about General Motor’s ill-fated advertising campaign targeting college students:

At the top, the text reads, "Reality Sucks," with the slogan "Stop pedaling…start driving" at the bottom.

We got pretty fired up about that. Here’s what we said at the time:

If you are a student looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt, care little about the environment, and want to lump two tons of steel around campus while paying through the nose for insurance, gas, and parking…General Motors has got a perfect deal for you. Bonus: it’ll make you fat and unhealthy! All you have to do is give up that dorky bicycle that’s easy to use, practically free, gets you some exercise and is actually fun to ride.

Thankfully, a whole lot of you agreed with us…and took to Twitter and Facebook in large numbers. By the next day, General Motors had heard from so many upset cyclists that they canceled the advertisement. They also responded tweet by tweet to everyone who contacted them by Twitter to apologize. Several of the tweets said, “Want to let you know we’re making changes to the ads based on input. We created w/student input and didn’t mean to offend.”



Though it seems a little unfair to throw students under the bus for the campaign, it is remarkable, and commendable, how quickly GM made the decision and responded using social medial. However, with nearly equal swiftness, a bicycle company joined the conversation. Giant Bicycles responded with this ad, which parodies the original:

This one reads: "Reality DOES suck. Luckily Bicycles don't." We agree.

This version of the ad perfectly captures what most bicyclists were thinking when we saw the GM campaign. Bikes do not suck.

Thanks to Joe Gilpin of Alta Planning + Design for passing this along on the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals listserv.

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