02 August 2010

The Car Industry Strikes Back Again Again - This Time With a New Angle

Ignoring the Car Advert
Citröen advert in Copenhagen last year.

Continuing on the Copenhagenize theme of how the car industry is rallying to counter the [re]boom of the bicycle as transport in our cities, here's a new angle from the French car giant Citröen.

Last week they filmed a car advert here in Copenhagen, for their new 2011 C4 model which, by all accounts will save the planet, plug the hole in the Gulf of Mexico and play with your puppies like a loving uncle with one hand whilst sowing organic beetroot seeds with the other.

The Citröen advert, however, will present a point of view that differs from the recent Car Industry Strikes Back efforts we've seen of late. From Audi, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagon, etc. Not to mention FIAT and Volvo continuing the car industry tradition of desperately trying to promote bicycle helmets in order to make bicycles look more dangerous than they are.

An earlier Audi advert attempted a similar angle, but Citröen seems to have shrugged and decided to show off their new four-wheeled environmental jewel in a whole new light.

With a budget the size of a medium-sized Danish feature film, they were allowed to have their wicked way with the city of Copenhagen. They were permitted to close off a lane of traffic on the major artery Åboulevarden and drive their car down the street. Here's the thing... there were over 100 extras on the payroll. Copenhageners on their bicycles. Including one guy who got $3000 to ride his BMX bike down some stairs. Not a bad rate.

Apparently the storyline involves a C4 driving down the street and a growing flock of cyclists fall into line to follow it. Citröen wanted to show off their car in a large city with a massive level of cycling so Copenhagen was the obvious choice. Danish production house Moland did the filming.

Simply, Citröen wanted to parade their car in a bicycle-friendly environment. Showing that their product can 'compete' with bicycles as transport. It's an interesting development. Sure, it's ridiculous - the car still pollutes and is still a killing machine that limits the development of liveable cities - but is this the car industry accepting the bicycle as an equal and worthy competitor?

Okay... grain of salt. Haven't seen the finished product yet. But I'll be back when I do.


My friend Andreas took this shot of the shooting of the advert last week. A camera rig on a Nihola cargo bike with an elderly chap riding it. No idea who the girl is on the left with her oh so Asian napkin on her mouth. An extra? You don't see those napkin-like masks here in Copenhagen except on the odd Asian tourist.

Ironically, C4 is also the monogram of one of the most prolific and visionary Kings of Denmark, Christian the Fourth.

Via: Various text messages, word of mouths and NPInvestor.


christhebull said...

I'd like to see a Citroen "compete" with a bike when filtering through traffic, fit into a suitcase, and is also light enough to carry up a flight of stairs. Because all those things, a bike can do. Yes, a car can cover several hundred miles a day, and has various other strenghts, but that's irrelivent on the school run unless you're a boarder or something.

Frits B said...

Even more ironical, C4 is a much used explosive. Not implying anything wicked.

Anonymous said...

Well... I actually heard that this is an advert-within-a-film, directed by Lars Von Trier, sent back in time, commissioned by a future Cycling Embassy of Denmark (when there is a Centre-Left coalition, as opposed to the current situation). This explains why the nice Social Democrat and Socialist People's Party* people in charge in Copenhagen gave permission for the shoot.

The car advert chapter of the film shows the day of the shoot with all it's mindblowing lies and greenwashing, then follows the exclusively male directorial staff of Moland as they or their children get killed cycling to work or school.

Simultaneously, the cyclist Quislings who had parts as extras get chased around and then caught by smaller and smaller Diesel exhaust particles which go forever deeper into their lungs and brains, either killing them or making them insane.

* In case you missed it, this is the bike helmet on the Gehl Architects blog, which makes me very sad.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of showing cycling to be more dangerous than it actually is, I showed the European Cyclists Federation's literature on Bike Helmets to a group of people in the UK. They were incredulous and refused to believe it, saying it was a mis-use of statistics, or that it was okay for someone in Copenhagen where there is cycling infrastructure.

The brainwashing that cycling is dangerous and requires all the protective gear you can get is quite deeply ingrained here, and is difficult to convince people otherwise.

Adrienne Johnson said...

I bet you can put a bicycle rack on it, too. Very useful thing to have. I hear you can use it to drive your bike to the shore for a little exercise in the salt air.

Pbbbbbttttt! : P

Stefan Warda said...

Nice picture:

It´s amazing to see what you can do with a nihola cargo-bike.

I hope Copenhagen has no flu attac these days . . .

Andreas Hammershøj said...

The girl with the mask was one of the extras. In the pictured scene the idea was apparently that the cyclists were riding among horrible old cars, being choked by fumes. (Non of the cars were of cause citroëns, but rather older models of german makes, like BMW.) As I past later they where riding behind the new citroën, everybody was smiling and the asian girl had the mask down.
Real silly stuff.

Bristol Traffic said...

Well, in Bristol we had the horror and inconvenience of a road-tax funded road being used to make a film showing kids cycling without helmets, so perhaps it events out.

Vauxhaull/GM sell an option in their (small) corsa for the rear bumper to pull out and take two bikes. This would be a good feature for all car club cars to have, as then you can use the car for bike assistance, longer trips, etc. It also explodes the lie that you need an SUV to do outdoor sports like mountain biking or rock climbing.

Ryne said...

that'll be interesting to see once the commercial is out.
Hope you'll post it or link to it.
-ryan from Houston.

yahoo said...

Hey Mikael,

Can you fold that Citroen and carry it into the shops, the library, the bars, the bookstore, the bus and the train? Can it stimulate your cardio-vascular system even as you see and are seen by your friends in similar folding Citroen C4s? No? Gleeps. Just thought I'd ask.

Milo said...

Hey Mikael,

Can you fold up this Citroen C4 and carry it into the shops with you? Or the workplace, the restaurants, the bars,the bookshops, the hairdresser? Can you exercise your cardio vascular system by 'operating' your Citroen C4, see and be seen by your friends travelling around in their folding C4s? No? Gleeps. Just thought I'd ask.


Anonymous said...

I wonder, if they have so stupid, mega-waged idiots in the car and ad industry?

What is the code number of new Citroen car?
Let me remind you: C4.

The same, as the famous clay-like, Czech manufactured material, which makes very powerful "boom". Involved in tragedies as Lockerbie attack and other acts.

People friendly C4? Only by Citroen!



Anonymous said...

I wonder, if they have so stupid, mega-waged idiots in the car and ad industry?

What is the code number of new Citroen car?
Let me remind you: C4.

The same, as the famous clay-like, Czech manufactured material, which makes very powerful "boom". Involved in tragedies as Lockerbie attack and other acts.

People friendly C4? Only by Citroen!



Um Carro a Menos said...

Here is the beautiful commercial.