Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

SEE IT: The Pro-Bike Van Moof Ad That’s Too Hot for French TV

It's the bike ad the French government doesn't want you to see.

According to Van Moof, the bike manufacturer, French media authorities have barred media outlets from running the company's latest ad for the company's S3 electric bike on the grounds that depictions of the damage caused by auto driving create “a climate of anxiety.”

Here's the ad. You decide:

The ad is fairly straightforward, using a sleek sports car as a screen onto which are projected the evils of car-based transportation systems: the traffic, the pollution, the spacial inefficiency, the road violence. Then the car melts, and the company slogan emerges, "Time to ride the future," accompanied by a singer saying, "There's a new day dawning."

The final frames feature the bike standing there, looking like the solution. But French consumers won't get to see it, thanks to the ruling by the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité. Van Moof criticized the independent French board's decision on its blog today, and praised the ad, called "Reflections."

"By flipping the visual language of a car advert on its head, we point to a world where people are free to choose a different kind of mobility, one which benefits their environment as much as it does themselves," the company said. "Unfortunately, the self-regulated ARPP argue that aspects of the film 'discredit the automobile sector ... while creating a climate of anxiety,' and have banned the film from airing on French television."

The ad is part of a small movement to supplant car-culture imagery with similarly sexy come-ons for sustainable transportation. In 2016, Stromer made an ad that used the car culture's own tropes against it.

"The Stromer marketing folks blatantly copied one of the most persuasive car commercials running today: the Matthew McConaughey/Lincoln MKC spots," Jonathan Maus wrote in his appreciation in Bike Portland. "Notice how the music, the look, the feel, even several scenes of the Stromer ad above mimic the Lincoln ad below. Notice the droning piano, the handsome, confident, and wealthy star getting ready for work, the reach for the key (that he passes over for his phone), and so on…"

We've reached out to Van Moof and French authorities for more information and will update this story if we hear back.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

National Green Groups Condemn Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Had New York engaged congestion pricing, the state would have "played a nation-leading role." Alas.

June 18, 2024

Someday, You May be Able to Activate Open Streets with Fewer City Hurdles

It could get easier and cheaper to organize hopscotch or hula hoop on open streets.

June 18, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: All Politics is Hochul Edition

You can't escape Gov. Hochul in the news these days. But she can't escape her terrible congestion pricing decision. Plus other news.

June 18, 2024

City Proposes Short Busway For Clogged Cross-Bronx Roadway

It's not a surprise there was a push for more busways, as the data has shown time and again that they work.

June 18, 2024

Deep Dive: Hochul Ignored Broad Coalition of Congestion Pricing Supporters In Favor Of Placard Elite

Gov. Hochul is favoring a wealthy, placard-clad minority over a diverse coalition of groups who have come out in support for congestion pricing.

June 17, 2024
See all posts