After running this ad in student newspapers across the US, GM is getting an earful. Here are some of the best commentary we’ve read about it here and here. And here’s GM’s wussy “Oh, sorry, we didn’t really put any thought into it” comments on twitter.

Update: Check out the “revamped” ad one of our readers, Hadji Corona, sent us after the break.

gm bad ad


  1. this is no surprise coming from the automaker whom besides their recent stellar business plans, still promotes gas guzzling SUVs with 24″ wheels like it was nobodys business. Ford promotes amazing vehicles around the world, not just excessive gas guzzling American POS. Support Ford!

  2. This ad confuses me. It looks like the chick in the car is checking out the guy on the bike. Why would he want to stop riding his bike if he has girls checking him out all the time? Not only is this a stupid ad idea, it is poorly done!

  3. Please, how many bike companies have “cars suck” ads? You need both and each are trying to sell what they make. As the late, great Bill Hicks said- “If you are in marketing- suck a tailpipe, do us a favor- kill yourselves.”

  4. Interesting premise. I used to own and race Corvettes and yet I also own a bike company. I’m also an an avid bike rider. Its just a stupid ad. It hurts GM. It makes them look like an old toothless T-rex.

  5. At least the quality of their ads is wholly consistent with the quality of their vehicles.

    I always pick the Ford at the car rental place when I’m traveling.

  6. GM, Ford, Cadillac… They all got saved by those guys they now criticize when things went wrong. At least, by their taxes. And still they keep on building insane cars, too big for anyone but for those who try to (over)compensate their poor performance in some intimate regions…

    Instead of bullying the bike community they could do better with their time and focus on providing efficient and affordable hybrid or electric cars!!! That way, they would be also cutting USA’s needs for oil, and thus they would help reduce the country’s needs for more and more war.

  7. i think its wonderful that the marketing dept can talk the execs into using their own stash of dope and kegs of beer with the college kids and parent focus group to get the desired outcome for a campaign and product. prop$$$$$ gmc! most companies just put a RedBull can in the pic but hey…….

  8. I think you guys are devaluing the fact that the ad is for college grads who, one would assume, have both the worldview and and the intelligence to figure this type of advertising out. Of course if you are lucky enough to find a job and it is some distance away from where you live- then you are in for one hell of a bike ride each way.

  9. Steve M has it right here.

    Why are we as cyclists allowed to bash gasoline-powered vehicles and the companies that make them while looking like saints, yet when a car company turns the tables they are demonized?

  10. Nate – because we quite rightfully occupy the moral high ground. Driving and riding are not equivalent. Driving a car is great – for me – and has negative consequences for everyone else. Riding a bike is also great (on a nice day at least) and has negligible impact on everyone else.

    If there’s an argument that cycling is not as green as it’s cracked up to be, then i’m up or that. But saying something “sucks” isn’t criticism, it’s abuse.

  11. We cyclists are a self righteous bunch. It always amuses me the “cyclists” that drive up to the trail or race in their gas hog autos. Maybe policing ourselves first is in order.

  12. @ Adam: “It’s are responsibility!” Really? Might want to work on that before firing off an angry missive to GM.

    From an ad perspective it’s poorly executed. I asked several friends who work in advertising what they thought of it and the universal opinion is that it’s terrible. I really doubt GM actually pulled this because a bunch of whining cyclists got their undies in a twist. More like the ad was only going to run once but when the controversy kicked in GM decided to claim they’re pulling it as an effort to sensitive. It’s also a teeny campaign – print ads in college papers probably don’t even account for a rounding error in their total media spend so even if they did pull the ad it’s an insignificant financial hit to them and they more than got their money back from the added media impressions brought on by the controversy. Either way, it’s a win for them. GM looks responsive for correcting their mistake while the cyclists just look like a bunch of uptight, hypocritical, self-righteous jerks who can’t take a joke. Cyclists have basically reinforced their own negative stereotypes in the eyes of many non-cyclists.

  13. To me it looks like they are going after the “bike because that is all you could afford at the time college demographic”. I’m not sure how big that demographic is, but the ad doesn’t seem harsh toward cyclists. Chris pretty much said everything else I was thinking. Quit whining.

  14. The -real- point is that GM does not have to (nor should they) take a dump on cycling (commuting or otherwise) to sell cars… at least not if they want me a customer… of course I wouldn’t buy their vehicles anyway, so maybe they don’t care and none of this matters.

  15. Mud slinging is fun!

    I wonder how many bicycles would have ever been delivered to any hipster’s local bike shop without autos…

  16. Ha hah!!! VINDICATION (for my opinion)! This ad only shows what all NORMAL bicycle-riders are thinking… wear a stupid looking styrofoam helmet, and a gay-looking skin-tight spandex ballet tutu while you’re riding your bicycle, and people will laugh at you! Wear normal clothes (jeans and a T-shirt) and ditch the fake helmets, and you won’t get laughed at as much! (Or be embarrassed to be seen in public on your bicycle!) Current bicycle clothing styles are SO GAY!

  17. This is an unfortunate failure by the agency in charge of marketing and advertising for GM. The majority of college students and recent grads don’t have the cash to purchase new vehicles. According to an article in USA today from 2010 “Last year, consumers 50 and older spent $87 billion on cars”. The baby boomers alone spent around $2.9 trillion in 2010.

    Compare that to the measly $14.8 billion car makers projected they would make off of college students in 2004 (survey by Alloy).

    And let’s face it, that was a projection. Back when the world economies were in better shape. I doubt that number has gone up since then.

    I wasn’t able to find a more recent statistic on college student new car purchases. I would hazard a guess that the latest generation of young marketers are too enamored with ‘sexy young people’ to stop wasting client money on garbage like this GM ad.

  18. In Europe the GM-made (Opel/Vauxhall branded) Corsa hatchback can come with a built in bike rack. (video: ) . This would be something to offer: a low cost car which lets you carry two bikes around without paying $$$ for the pickup. Rather than offend the customer, embrace it. But no, they are still trying to sell the idea that you need a pickup. Doomed

  19. WDW: Go ahead and not wear a helmet, just means higher doctor bills WHEN you get hit by a car. I assume you are either a BMX rider or a hipster riding a fixie and somehow consider fashion to be more important than the ability to stay alive in a bad crash? Helmets save lives man.

    As to the spandex stuff, I was with you until I rode a bike more than 10 miles in one go. Jeans are HORRIBLE riding that distance-especially on a hot day. The cooling features of cycling clothing outweigh the ignorance of a bunch of random kids who don’t know better. I can say I have NEVER seen a person in a “gay-looking skin-tight spandex ballet tutu” riding a bike. I have a feeling that some random fixie kid who does barspins will start doing so after seeing your comment (assuming you haven’t already).

    I have seen more BMX riders and hipsters laughed at for wearing their sister’s pants than I have seen road or mountain riders for spandex. Grow up.

  20. Reality is… we cyclists are worth less than a dog. The message is only those who can’t afford a car, ride a bike. And that is not necessarily the case. Once that perception is accepted by drivers, they start treating you like an animal. Perhaps worse.

  21. Ask the 32,000 thousand Americans who died in car wrecks last year, not just the ones that die on impact, but the ones that suffered for hours trapped in the wreckage, lapsed in and out of conciseness on the way to the emergency room and then finally succumb to death 12 hours later while there loved ones suffer grief stricken in the waiting room.

    Yes GM, FORD, TOYOTA… Reality Really Suck’s

    And what about all the over weight [Oil dependency is the number one cause of premature death]

    Lack of exercise is the leading cause of stupidity, anxiety and insomnia.

    Our dependency on foreign oil accounts for 51% of our national debt.

    WOW, cars really are coffins

  22. Hi Russ, ya know you can deliver a bike with a truck or even better a train.

    Just don’t do it by Air, they charge a fortune, and have all been bankrupted by the price of Oil.

    GM is just a slave to big oil.

    I would love it if they would go big with real solutions and bring back Detroit.

    Get Big oil out of America. Big oil is much worse than the pussies we call the taliban.

    Grow a set, ride a bike.

    Oh and if your a chick, and you pick the guy with the truck over the guy with the bike, you can kiss your future blood goodby.

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