A television advert for Dutch VanMoof bikes has been banned from French television because it causes anxiety, which is illegal in France. In the words of VanMoof, ‘reflecting on the rat race of the past proves too controversial.’ In the words of France’s advertising watchdog it creates a ‘climate of fear’ about cars and uses non-car related elements to get its point across.
A French friend said there’s three reasons the advert was banned: Renault, Peugeot and Citroën, all three French car manufacturers. Twitter has more jokes about the banned advert as well.
Despite being aired on Dutch and German television, the Autorité de régulation professionnelle de la publicité (ARPP) said the ad for the VanMoof bike unfairly discredited the automobile industry. The advert features a shiny black car on which are reflected images of chimneys, the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and traffic jams. The vehicle melts away to transform into the Dutch company’s latest e-bike, accompanied by the tag line: “Time to ride the future”.
This comes at a time when the progressive mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is turning big boulevards into bike paths, getting her much praise.
“Some images in the reflection of the car are, in our opinion, unbalanced and discredit the entire car sector,” the ARPP said in a letter sent to VanMoof. “The images of factories/chimneys and an accident create a climate of fear. So they will have to be adapted.”
VanMoof has accused the watchdog of wanting to protect the French car industry after sales plummeted during the health crisis. VanMoof is not going to edit the advert, and because television doesn’t have the weight it used to have, everybody is going online to view the video and find out why it was banned.
The French are saying the video is openly criticising the automobile industry which is a bad thing to do at the moment, while the Dutch are pointing out that there’s nothing wrong with encouraging cycling using imagery that implies cars as bad. Gotta love Europe.