New E-Bike Ad Made France So Anxious It Was Banned

Country's regulatory agency bans commercial for VanMoof's S3 for 'creating climate of anxiety'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2020 10:20 AM CDT
Updated Jul 11, 2020 7:00 AM CDT

If you feel a little wound up while watching the latest commercial for a Dutch e-bicycle, France's advertising regulatory agency gets it. The 45-second ad for VanMoof's $2,000 S3 e-bike that debuted last month features scenes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, with images of car accidents and smokestacks spewing who-knows-what reflected off the surface of the trapped cars—all until a woman's voice starts singing, "There's a new day dawning," along with the tagline "Time to ride the future." That's when one of the cars morphs into the slick-looking S3 e-bicycle, an apparent remedy to the environmental apocalypse the commercial implies would be caused by continuing to drive cars. But perhaps the ad was a tad too apocalyptic, as the company's first TV spot has now been banned in France for being too intense, the Verge reports.

The ARPP, France's advertising regulatory agency, says the ad "discredit[s] the automobile sector ... while creating a climate of anxiety," as well as breaches advertising and marketing guidelines on not tapping into people's feelings of "fear and suffering." The regulators have instructed VanMoof to rework the commercial for reconsideration in France. But VanMoof doesn't seem especially apologetic, describing the ARPP's decision in a blog post as "perplexing when you consider that the reflected images weren't created for this commercial—it's all archival documentary footage that's freely available in the public domain." The post continues: "If everyday footage of real world transport is going to create a 'climate of anxiety,' maybe someone should try to do something about that world. Y'know ... by offering alternative means of transportation. Or something." (More commercials stories.)

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