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Marketing cars by knocking bikes
I saw a commercial tonight for Kia, specifically for the West Point, Ga., Sorento plant, in which a young, 1950s-era boy pedals down a country road on a sweet black bike. That's what riveted my attention: anything bikes. The boy continues riding, right into a Kia factory, across the floor amid the cars, as once again the narration boasts cars as "better ways to help people get around."
It surprised me for two reasons: I was unaware until this commercial that Kia originally manufactured bicycles (and steel tubing), then got into motor vehicles seven years later; and it directly touts cars as better transportation than bicycles, as Audi recently did.
That was the infamous Audi A3 TDI "Do Your Part" commercial, in which bus riders, bicyclists and Segway users are shown trying to do their part to reduce pollution production; however, they are shown as suffering for it: jostled and grimacing on the bus; pedaling through a downpour in the dark; schlepping self-consciously on a Segway over a pedestrian-clogged sidewalk. Some (Audi drivers), it claims, just "have more fun" doing their part.
I discovered another commercial out of Asia, for the Audi Q5, that employs a bicycle. This one's a draw, boasting the car has "agility that conquers the city." The commercial is shown from the bike handlebars' vantage, strapped to the roof of the Audi. We see what we think is the bike zipping through parts of town where only bikes should go. We later come to know it's the car that was driving over sidewalks and multi-use paths.
Though the Audi Q5 spot perhaps unknowingly promotes reckless driving, its effect on the bicycle is a draw. It compares itself to the bike, and likens their abilities to navigate urban terrain. It doesn't malign the bicycle or transit, as the Audi A3 TDI does, or illustrate it as outmoded or an inferior way to get around, as does the Kia.
The only common ground we can draw from these commercials for bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers: Segways are for sucks.