08 May 2012

Car Industry Strikes Back - Ford

Nothing like a good Car Industry Strikes Back article to kickstart your day. Our reader, Krzysztof in Gdansk, Poland, spotted this advert for Ford Poland in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. You're going to love this desperate attempt by Ford to sell some vans.

The main text at the top left reads, "Ford Transit - a machine for saving money"

Then, below, Ford tries to alter reality by writing; "Delivery bicycles do not exist. You don't need to switch to riding a bike to save money."

Yes. They just wrote that. Delivery Bicycles Don't Exist. In all seriousness. And then they paid to have it published in a newspaper. If Poland has an advertising standards commission, someone should let them about this advert. Lying, as far as I'm aware, isn't allowed in advertising.

The text continues with optimistic texts about how you can "Save on buying", "save on petrol", "save on service", etc. "The usual blah blah blah you'd expect from a commercial", as Krzysztof put it in his email to us.

He continues, "Now I know commercials go a far way to bend facts and I know delivery bikes are not popular in Poland (in fact I've seen just 1 or 2 in
Gdańsk so far) but come on... I felt like someone was lying while looking me straight in the eyes. This ad is something I just couldn't pass by."

When you live in Copenhagen, with 40,000 cargo bikes and you are involved with the Cyclelogistics project to promote cargo bike use in European cities, this advert is so stupid it's amusing. As ever with this Car Industry Strikes Back series, we can see that they're worried. That they see the bicycle as serious competition. And well they should. It's last century versus this century and we're winning it.

Paris Bike Culture - La Petite Reine
Cargo bike delivery in Paris.

Vintage Russian Cargo Bike - Home Flower Delivery
Vintage Russian cargo bike delivering flowers.

Montreal Cargo Bike Delivery_2 Cargo Postal Service Rio Cargo Bike Culture_5 Rio Cargo Bike Culture_1
Left to right: Supermarket delivery bike in Montreal.
Citizen Cyclist in Copenhagen carrying stuff.
Royal Danish post.
Rio de Janeiro and Rio, again. Two of 11,000 cargo bike deliveries in that city.

Flea Market Transport Fruit Bike Ice Bikes Espressomanden Cargo Bike
Left to right: Copenhagener moving stuff to a flea market.
The Fruit Bike, Copenhagen.
Ice Cream Bikes at Copenhagen Zoo.
The Coffee Bike by Espressomanden, Copenhagen.
Cargo bike in Amsterdam.
Newspaper Bike Sao Paulo Cargo Bikes (2) Cyclelogistics KOM 012 The Sushi Bicycle Vendor The Bikeman
Left to right: Newspaper bike, Copenhagen.
Cargo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Crêpes bike, Copenhagen.
Sushi bike, Copenhagen.
Bike repair bike, Copenhagen.

And so on, and so on.

The Cargo Bike Culture photo set kind of thumbs its nose in the general direction of Ford.


Alisdair said...

Excellent stuff, what's the bike situation in Poland though? I bet that kind of ad would work here in Australia too, but it's quite incorrect too.

Mikael Colville-Andersen said...

Many Polish cities have fair numbers of Citizen Cyclists. There are a number of Polish Cycle Chic blogs, for example. But there is work to be done.

Szymon Fiedler said...

Like Mikael said, here in Poland, every year the number of cyclists increase. Bike infrastructure is growing up too, but very often it's bad designed.
Many people still think that possessing a car is a sign of wealth.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing like a good Car Industry Strikes Back article to kickstart your day."

Actually, I think this blog is doing way to much of that. Most posts seem to be passive recountings of other things, with a lot of anger and scepticism. The feel is like cycling is under threat, declining...

As a cycle advocate in a large city with only 1% cycle mode share, I find it strange that a blog with Copenhagen in the name is so depressing to read. I really don't need that, it offers me little, and if this continues, I think I'll stop coming back.

Marcin Kubiak said...

And Copehagenize strikes back as well with over a dozen of photos to prove Ford was wrong. Love it.

I'm seeing more and more cargo bikes in Poland, you can already feel "the wind of change". Personally I'm thinking about getting myself a bike trailer.

BTW: the ad's headline itself is ridiculous. Yeah, cars save money. Of course.

Mikael Colville-Andersen said...

The great thing about the internet is that you can go whereever you like or stop going to places you don't wish to go.

If reading articles about how the car industry feels threatened by the Rise of the Bicycle is "depressing" then this blog isn't the place for you.

Zwykły mieszkaniec Grochowa said...

The truth is that in Poland for many years owning a car was luxury. So now when cars are rather cheap everyone wants one.
As I remember this is first ad with comparison bikes and cars.

Thanks Mikael for posting this on Your Blog.

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Glenn said...


In the U.S., our neo-con stacked Supreme Court ruled a few years back that lying is protected speech under the 1st amendment of the constitution. As the case was brought against an advertiser, that means they legalized lying in advertisements. Ford is an American company, so perhaps this ruling means they think they can lie anywhere in the world.

Funny place my native country; if I hadn't been born here I think I'd leave. But, as I was born here, I stay and try to improve it. Hard slog.

Michał Pilch said...

So finally after many questions on Ford Facebook page They said sorry for this ad.

snogglethorpe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
snogglethorpe said...

Delivery services around here often use bicycles (he's fixing a tire puncture in the story :/)

I've seen even bigger cargo vehicles too... these companies are very practical, they have everything from giant trucks to bicycle-pulled cargo trailers, motor-scooters, bikes with big baskets, guys on foot pushing huge racks of packages along the street, all the way down to guys running along the street with a package in their hands. Whatever fits the situation...

Lars Barfred said...

I bet this wouldn´t fit inside a Ford Transit


Helton Moraes said...

A nice brazilian advertisement for a new auto deserves to be mentioned:


The final tagline is: ": for those who are doing well". (or "going well", in portuguese)

It plays on the double meaning of the car being beautiful and the driver's behavior being correct, and also with "doing well" as being successful (financially, perhaps) and driving right. It's even educational!

That is, another type of car ad is possible!

Piotr Cichosz said...

Well, this is the case in Poland right now - I have never seen a cargo bike here, and I've been living in Warsaw for 4 years. The shift towards diverse transportation is just taking off and years need to pass before this ad becomes ridiculous.