18 February 2010

Creeps and Weirdos


Another excellent example of how the automobile industry pushes the right buttons on the right stereotypes in their marketing. Lessons to be learned by cities and towns in their marketing of public transport and urban cycling.

Todd from Green Idea Factory photoshopped the advert a while back. The result can be seen on his blog here.

Spotted on the always excellent Urbanophile blog.

20 comments:

Paul Souders said...

There's another subtext at work in ads like this. Think about the comparison carmakers want you make, the insecurities they want to prey upon.

A few years ago carmakers were competing with one another; the competitor for Car Maker X was Car Maker Y, or your crappy old model Car Make X. Cars were compared to other cars. Ads tried to make you feel like a loser for driving an older model car, or an unhip car by Car Maker Y.

Could you imagine seeing this ad in 1998? In the US gas was $1/gal and unemployment was 4%.

Nowadays the "competition" is increasingly public transit, bicycles, or just not going anywhere at all. It's hoped you'll feel like a loser for not having a car or living car-lite. Whether this is by choice (i.e. the "carfree lifestyle") or due to economy/gas prices -- the writing is on the wall. Cars are becoming optional.

Vanessa Hernandez said...

Wow, that's amazing. I live in Orlando, FL (not a very bike/pedestrian friendly place) and I've started biking and bussing it whenever I can. It's funny how many people think it ghastly to take the bus. I've had one bad experience with a "creep" but it was more of an inconvenience I'd say. I was reading a really good book and this drunk dude wouldn't stop talking to me. That situation didn't turn me off from riding the bus and it's ridiculous to see the car industry take advantage of something like that.

Nevertheless, I agree with the above comment. Cars are definitely becoming optional. Hallelujah.

Love your blog by the way. I'm super envious of Copenhagen's bike friendliness. It's very inspiring.

bikeolounger said...

I think one tactic the municipalities could use is to label the motorists the creeps, weirdos, and homicidal jerks, with the sign on the bus saying "affordable alternative."

It's more accurate, at the least. How many creeps and weirdos drive around with rusty old cars filled with junk? How many motorists act as if they are ready to kill the cyclist for simply being there at fifteen miles an hour in a thirty-five zone?

bikeolounger said...

@ Paul Souders: very good point! I see the same dynamic at work in online forum posts whenever there is a cycling-friendly article in the local paper--car-crazed people telling folks to "get a real job, so that you can afford a car like a decent person instead of peddling (sic) around town on your Huffy."

Der Geis said...

At least there wasn't also a bike on the rack.

miss sarah said...

Yeah, it's funny how they don't show the severely obese person sitting in the driver's seat. I also presume that more often than not these are the same people who are horribly unstylish, so they don't even know how to dress well enough to hide the unsightly physique.

That's right. Miss Sarah. So mean!

Anonymous said...

Funny the sign atop the bus should say "Creeps and weirdos". I went an a couple dates with one woman I met on the bus, and was friendly with another, and I know of two weddings held on light railtransit platforms in my city (the couples each met on the train). Try doing that in your car- "meeting" people that way usually involves exchanging insurance info.

Incidentally, for the purchase price alone of the "affordable" car in the ad, I could buy 13 years' worth of monthly transit passes, at current prices!

Anonymous said...

They should add terrorists to the list also

Green Idea Factory said...

I did a kind of unsubversion/imagery repair to this advert. It is on my Blog, from a little under two years ago, so a few further links are dead (but I add some details about what happened with this advert). See http://greenideafactory.blogspot.com/2008/04/bus-vs-car-or-bus-not-vs-bike.html

Mikael said...

Indeed, paul. the car industry is worried about new competition. good point. I covered it in the post about The Car Empire Strikes Back.

Klaus Mohn said...

They couldalso have gone beyond the dog-whistle appeal to American's racist perception of public transportation and written "black people".

Sweetman said...

Think about it, creeps and weirdos are more likely to want a crappy but private car like a chevrolet cavalier. The ad is insulting to dedicated bus riders but the message is that chevy will provide a cheap ride to creeps and weirdos. I love it.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was creative enough to do this, but alas my computer skills are rather rudimentary. Could someone please mock up some print ads of people standing next to their cars with the tag line "Yes that car does make you look fat" and release it over the internet. They don't even have to be overly obese people in the ad, just your average middle aged North American. Please, someone make my day?

veronica

Anonymous said...

I like labeling auotmobile drivers "bullies," as described in Cap'n Transit's excellent blog: http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2009/06/protecting-vulnerable-from-bullies.html

Clarence Eckerson Jr. said...

I guess this makes me a creep and weirdo for riding the bus.

Christopher Parker said...

The difference is that drivers kill you. The drunk on the bus is a bother. The drunk on the road is your death.

Anonymous said...

@anon,

"Does this car make me look fat?" -- brilliant! Shows insecurity.

Another car weakness: trust. Who really trusts the motorist? At the basic human level, we must know that it's just a weapon. The behemoth system is vicious and debt-ridden. An unconscious machine.

And as a single woman, the motorist does not seem sexy at all. I refuse to have a family if it means owning and driving a car. Please, guys, loose the car and act like mature, responsible men. Power is not the car, it's the mind.

Anonymous said...

lose* :)

Giffen said...

How about this?

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/1352/carfat.jpg

Spokker said...

Drivers are fucked up.

http://www.aaafoundation.org/resources/index.cfm?button=agdrtext

"In the United States, unverified figures of up to 1,200 road rage-related deaths a year have been reported. There is very little data available on the extent of the problem in the United Kingdom, although there have been increasing numbers of reports of violent disagreements between motorists over the last year.

In order to quantify the extent of the road rage problem, the Automobile Association commissioned a survey of 526 motorists. The survey, carried out in January, 1995, found that almost 90 percent of motorists have experienced "road rage" incidents during the last 12 months. Sixty percent admitted to losing their tempers behind the wheel.

Aggressive tailgating (62 percent) was the most common form of "road rage," followed by headlight flashing (59 percent), obscene gestures (48 percent), deliberately obstructing other vehicles (21 percent) and verbal abuse (16 percent). One percent of drivers claim to have been physically assaulted by other motorists.

Although 62 percent of drivers were victimized by aggressive tailgaters, only 6 percent admitted to doing it themselves. Gender differences were not as great as expected; 54 percent of women admitted to aggressive driving behavior, compared with 64 percent of men."

So who is creepy and weird here, the bus riders or the drivers?