Friday, 19 October 2012

Aggression In Its Most Elegant Form?

Am I the only one who finds this ad offensive?

Okay, I've been on a bit of an anti-car crusade recently, probably because I've had a spate of incidents with motorists honking, revving their engines, passing too closely and generally behaving dangerously on my commute. And maybe ads like these are part of the reason for such behavior.

The subtext, as I see it: "Buy an Acura, and you have our permission to act like a fricken maniac on the road."

And this campaign was awarded Best Luxury Campaign by the Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards.

I'm sure this car sold by the thousands. But as far as I'm concerned, this is a disgusting ad and it's only matched in douchebaggery by the auto dealers who continue to use it to sell Acuras.

One blogger (a marketing guy) has noticed.

One cycling blogger has noticed.

Yet there's been no criticism in the mainstream that I've seen, and what criticism there is on cycling sites has often been attacked as being an overreaction. Could that be because 90% of the population (and the vast majority of cyclists) drive, so they are drinking the Kool-Aid and don't see the problem?

Where's the disconnect? Is there a disconnect? Am I overreacting?

Then there's the ad that (I think) made its debut at the 2012 Olympics in which a motorist is driving a Cadillac like a fricken nutcase through a bunch of tunnels on a winding and very scary road (the Guoliang Road Tunnel in China). I can't find the actual ad, but here's an ad for the ad. The ad is far scarier:

What if a cyclist, a pedestrian, or indeed another car, were on that road?

Here's a video of a real life drive through the tunnel. There's quite a difference in speed when you know you don't have the road to yourself and you have to act responsibly. Also, notice the nutcase honking his horn because he wants to drive like a maniac (i.e. 5-10mph faster). Maybe he's seen the Cadillac ad:

Here's another video showing how the tunnel is driven in real life:

And then there's this:

I mean, WTF? The arrogance of the grin on that guy's face when (supposedly - I think the stunt is CGI) he's done a loop that ought to be regarded by any sane person as suicidal says everything.

I find the level of irresponsibility in these ads astonishing. It seems to me there is a deeply ingrained culture of profligacy in the motoring community that is reflected in automobile marketing campaigns. Arrogance, aggression and dangerous driving all seem to be 'en vogue' for motorists at the moment.

Do these things not bother anyone else? Are people who don't own a car the only ones who care about this stuff? Do these ads bother the cyclists who also drive?


  1. Oh, Lord.....don't get me started.

    I once got into a pissing match with the editors of Buycycling Magazine over this issue after they posted a centerfold of a car advertised as a way to unleash your aggression. I called LAB, Bike-Walk, and Buycycling. The managing editor basically told me to go stow myself; that the editorial and sales side of the house had nothing to do with each other. Sure--just like the V2 factories near Nordhausen had nothing to do with the rest of Germany. They had a firewall too, right?

    I'd love to see the public reaction if Glock, Colt, and Smith and Wesson advertised themselves on TV with a reenactment of the Aurora, CO slaughter, i.e., "unleash your aggression with our fourteen round automatic pistols".

    Indeed, this sucks. Even more sucks because of the complicity of cyclists.

  2. I find the offensive ads by GM worse than the ones by Honda. After all, with the GM ads, it is my tax dollars at work either telling me that riding a bike is the act of a loser or showing maniacal road behavior. Mercedes takes a higher path - the driver falls asleep but the car steps in before a cyclist or pedestrian gets taken out.