VanMoof’s e-bike ad banned in France for creating a ‘climate of anxiety’


VanMoof, the Dutch electrical bicycle model, is formally too sizzling for (French) tv.

The firm’s first TV commercial was banned in France for its adverse portrayal of automobile visitors and air pollution. The industrial was rejected by France’s promoting regulatory authority, ARPP, as a result of it “discredit[s] the automobile sector […] while creating a climate of anxiety.”

The advert, which premiered on June sixth and is meant for each TV and the net, options scenes of visitors jams, car crashes, and tailpipe air pollution mirrored on the floor of a sports activities automobile that ultimately begins to soften, giving strategy to VanMoof’s new S3 e-bike. “The alternative to gridlocked freeways and overflowing subways,” the textual content reads. “Time to ride the future.”

But that was an excessive amount of for the ARPP. In a letter to VanMoof, the regulatory company accused the Dutch model of unfairly casting a adverse gentle on the auto trade. ARPP mentioned the industrial additionally violates promoting and advertising and marketing code prohibiting the exploitation of emotions of “fear or suffering.” VanMoof is directed to switch the advert earlier than resubmitting it.

Naturally, VanMoof is in search of to show the rejection right into a PR victory — and likewise a strategy to trumpet its unconventional method to promoting. The company published a blog post on Tuesday boasting in regards to the ARPP’s dedication.

“We were always aware that this commercial isn’t your usual bike ad,” Taco Carlier, co-founder VanMoof, mentioned. “It’s really a call to action, a chance to leave the past behind, and make real progress that benefits everyone. Questioning the status quo will always be confrontational, but that was our purpose from the start.”

VanMoof additionally factors out that this isn’t the primary time the ARPP has been linked to controversy. The group has been beforehand referred to as out for a scarcity of neutrality by NGOs akin to Greenpeace and Médecins du Monde. But ARPP defended its choice.

It is a great classic to attack the independence that we have, in fact, and to try to obtain space and free media coverage shouting at censorship,” Stéphane Martin, ARPP’s managing director, advised Radio France. “You should not fall into the ease of bashing when you just have to promote your product.”

It’s an odd flip, particularly for France the place efforts to advertise extra sustainable modes of transportation have gone mainstream. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently won reelection virtually solely on a platform of eradicating automobiles from cities to advertise biking and strolling.

The problem appears to stem principally from the dire situations of France’s auto trade. Sales are plummeting within the nation because of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread financial decline. The authorities not too long ago launched an €8 billion plan to bail out the auto sector.

Meanwhile, bike gross sales have spiked in response to the coronavirus pandemic and world lockdown. E-bike firms, particularly, are reporting report gross sales. VanMoof is a direct-to-consumer firm, which means it bypasses conventional bike shops to promote its bikes on-line and thru its personal model shops.

In May, the corporate mentioned its first quarter gross sales had been up dramatically in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months, rising in all of its essential markets, together with Germany (+226 p.c), the UK (+184 p.c), the Netherlands (+140 p.c), the US (+138 p.c), and France (+92 p.c). The uptick was not less than partially pushed by reductions forward of the launch of its S3 and X3 e-bikes in April.