GM pulls advertisement that offended cyclists


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[Updated Oct.12, 2011 10:40 a.m. Source of advertisment is BikePortland and not General Motors Co.]

General Motors Co. is killing an advertisement aimed at college students after receiving complaints that it makes fun of people who use bicycles for transportation.


That ad has a headline stating, “reality sucks” and depicts a nerdy looking guy wearing a helmet and riding a bicycle being passed by a cute young woman in the passenger seat of a car. It then goes on to say, “Stop pedaling … start driving” and provides information about discount pricing for GM products such as the new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact sedan and the giant GMC Sierra 1500 truck.

The ad ran in a variety of college newspapers and was turned into a poster that was displayed campuses, according to the automaker.

The advertisement was widely panned on a variety of cycling blogs and in complaints to the company.

“The content of the ad was developed with college students and was meant to be a bit cheeky and humorous and not meant to offend anybody,” said Tom Henderson, a GM spokesman.

“We have gotten feedback and we are listening and there are changes underway. They will be taking the bicycle ad out of the rotation…. We respect bikers and many of us here are cyclists,” he said.

This follows a higher-profile reversal made last month concerning GM’s OnStar vehicle communication service.


In that case, GM reversed course and said it will change how it will handle former OnStar customers once they opt out of the service.

The automaker said it will change its proposed “Terms and Conditions” policy and will not –- as it had intended -- keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said OnStar’s policy represented an invasion of privacy and he threatened a federal investigation.


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-- Jerry Hirsch