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Posts from the "Ad Nauseam" Category

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Eyes on the Street: Homelessness, Crime, Noise, Bicyclists

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The above flyer was sent to Streetsblog by a member of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Improvement Association with a simple statement,”a little more mockery/pushback/coverage might be useful/entertaining.”

While I take reader requests very seriously, I don’t know what exactly to mock. After all, if Los Feliz is such a Shangri-La that the fourth most pressing problem that neighbors face, after “homelessness,” “crime” and “noise” is “bicyclists” than it must be a pretty awesome place to be.

Personally, I would put the mean look I get at Ramekin when I ask for rainbow sprinkles on my tahitian vanilla ice cream just ahead of “crime,” but to each their own.

Anyway, any bicyclists that want to head on over to the Autry on February 10th should let us know how City Attorney Feuer and Captain Bert proposed to deal with the problem of bicyclists. I would go myself, but it’s just so noisy in Los Feliz these days.

12 Comments

Open Thread: About That Prius Advertisement…

When I announced a couple of weeks ago that Streetsblog had struck an advertising deal with the L.A. Times allowing them to sell advertising space on Streetsblog, I assured readers that did not mean we would be accepting advertisements for automobiles, AAA, or politicians. The second advertisement the Times placed was for a car dealership. Apparently, we need to be very specific with the software that controls what advertisements go where.

Thanks...

I sat back and waited for the outraged emails or comments…I was at least expecting a snide comment or two from The Dude Abides, or Spokker, or Ubrayj02. But…nothing. Nobody said anything. The fundraiser for OpenPlans emailed me to see if I noticed, and I responded: “I’m going to wait until it runs through the cycle. I’m curious if any Streetsblog readers are going to care.”

So far, it seems as though none of you really cared. While I’m going to email our friends at the Times to make sure it doesn’t happen again, the experience does beg the question: Did you notice that advertisement? If you did, what did you think?

10 Comments

Ad Nauseum: Portugese Car Commercial Goes Metro to Slam Transit Riders

Last week, Streetsblog NYC’s Brad Aaron reported on an advertisement in Metro Newpaper by Subaru calling transit riders “stinking low lifes.” The irony of course is that Metro is given out for free in many transit stations across North America.

Via Copenhagenize, comes a television commercial from Portugal that’s also  something of an insult. In the commercial for Mercedes Smart Cars, we see a lot of the tropes that the car industry is desperately trying to sell to people who don’t want to chain themselves to the costs of owning a car. There’s a woman pressed up against a Red Line door as she just missed her connection. There’s a mariachi band desperately trying to entertain a woman who wants to be left alone. There’s a hipster gazing longingly out the window of his bus at a Smart Car while a suited man is loudly eating a hamburger next to him.

Wait a second, did I say “Red Line door?” I did. The makers of this commercial clearly decided to Go Metro! to make their transit hating screed. Reader Erik Griswold, who tipped Streetsblog to the video, fumed rhetorically, “Who approved this self-loathing (manure?)”

But don’t worry Angelenos, we don’t have to bear the burden of having our beloved Metro system to attack the people who use it. That bus in the second half of the advertisement is from North San Diego County’s NCTD.

Streetsblog NYC 67 Comments

Transit Commuters Are Stinking Low-Lifes, Subaru Tells Transit Commuters

Think transit commuters are unwashed, uncouth bums? Subaru does. And the carmaker doesn’t mind telling them so.

In recent Canadian editions of Metro — the free daily distributed at transit stops — Subaru ran a two-page spread spouting just about every negative transit, and transit rider, stereotype you can think of. The ad was brought to our attention by a Sabrina Lau Texier, a transportation planner in Vancouver.

“While you’re sitting on public transit, just imagine your commute in a new Subaru Impreza,” the copy reads. “No weird smells, no overhearing awful music, and nobody asking you for spare change.” Classy.

On the first page are “coupons” for an “odour free ride to work” (nothing but that carcinogenic new car smell), “less chance of being asked for money” (except by Subaru and Exxon), savings on “obligatory transit conversations with coworkers” (down with human interaction!), “free confidence” (for $19,995), and our favorite: “half off arbitrary and inexplicable transit delays.” As opposed to the gridlock-free ride we can expect if we all ditch transit to drive a Subaru to the office — alone, of course, to avoid those unpleasant conversations with co-workers.

The ad implies that the Impreza has a better safety rating than transit. Canada had 6.5 traffic fatalities and 500 injuries per 100,000 people in 2010, according to the latest available figures.

Think the folks at Subaru don’t know transit ridership is booming, and not because commuters just need to be sold on “symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive”? Ads like this one, as Lau Texier puts it, are “a desperate attempt to stay relevant for an industry with declining sales.”

Maybe a campaign based on the premise that your target audience is a bunch of losers is not the most winning strategy.

Read more…

StreetFilms 7 Comments

Scion: Using Bikes to Sell Cars (to Sell Bikes?)

Here’s one you might file under Not Ad Nauseum: a new commercial with bikes being used in a positive way to have fun, recreate and see your city.  The product being pitched?  The new Toyota Scion. Watch below.

First off, this is a very nice, hip and pretty ad.  It introduces us to Daniel Farahirad, a bicycle retailer in downtown L.A., who uses a Scion to (sometimes) transport his bike out of the city to ride and race. Compared to many of the ways car commercials demonize or make fun of cycling, it’s a welcome addition.

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Streetsblog NYC 13 Comments

Acura: Santa Is Real, and You Better Watch Out

If you tuned in to the news earlier this week, you likely heard that in 2011 U.S. road fatalities dropped to their lowest level since 1949. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the media practically consider it cause for celebration that *just* 32,000 or so people were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year. Maybe that’s understandable. In the last six decades, since the time before seat belts and padded dashboards were standard equipment, it’s the best we’ve been able to manage.

While everyone wants to get that 32,000 closer to zero, for some time it’s been socially acceptable to market American passenger vehicles as race cars. Though on one hand auto companies tout safety features that have helped reduce driver and passenger deaths, many if not most ads emphasize horsepower and high-speed handling. As if every family sedan doubled as a rally racer, and every motorist, possessing the keys to that sedan, could pass for a highly-skilled stunt driver.

A new seasonal campaign from Acura is a particularly egregious example. In these ads, celebrities including Dr. Phil and Santa Claus tear through urban streets, their eyes barely on the road as they zig-zag between lanes and speed around corners while lecturing passengers, whom they have plucked from shopping for Christmas decorations, on the finer points of decking the halls. “Listen to the voice of reason,” goes the tagline.

These commercials go a step further than the “need for speed” fantasies conveyed in much auto advertising. The hook here is that the celebs are driving fast, heedless of their environment. Watch the relieved couple hug when Dr. Phil drops them off at the Christmas tree stand. Hear the tires chirp when Santa backs across a sidewalk. Acura is promoting reckless driving. That’s the joke.

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Streetsblog NYC 14 Comments

Honda to Sleeping, Distracted and Aggressive Drivers: Don’t Sweat It.


Honda’s new “We Know You” campaign includes a series of 16-second spots, presented as a medley of sorts in the ad above, which touts the safety features of the new Accord.

The Accord comes with a “drift warning” that alerts the driver when the car has entered another lane, a “forward collision warning” light that flashes and beeps when a sudden stop is required, and a “blind spot display” screen that, per Honda, facilitates quick lane changes. The gist of the ads is that attentive driving is no longer necessary — Honda has got your back.

The most egregious, and telling, commercial of the campaign has to be “Tired You,” which depicts a white collar type chugging coffee as he tries in vain to stay awake while driving on a flat, straight deserted road. When his Accord crosses the center line, the alarm sounds, the man jerks awake — and keeps driving.

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StreetFilms 17 Comments

Ad Nauseum: Is This the First U.S. Car Commercial Filmed on a Street with a Protected Bike Lane?

ince I’ve been doing lots of research, analysis and interviews for a future Streetfilm looking at car commercials, this recent Lexus ES ad in heavy rotation during football Sundays really caught my eye. If you are a cyclist or urban planner take a 30 second gander. It just might be a first (at least in the United States): a major car company deciding to showcase their car on a complete street!

Yes, “Infinite Glances” is your typically slick, highly-manipulated production from the car world, but it’s kind of exciting to see the protected bike lane representin’ on the right hand side of the screen. From the look of the city, I knew it was likely shot in Vancouver. And after freeze framing the video and looking at the street names it’s apparent this was shot on Vancouver’s Dunsmuir Street, which does indeed have a wonderful protected bike facility. (Streetfilms Note: we have a video debuting shortly on bicycling in Vancouver, from the Velo City 2012 conference in June.)

However, delve a little deeper into the photoshopping and F/X and you’ll find that the advertising world just can’t leave well enough alone. Although they have nicely populated the streets with pedestrians and cyclists, all four cyclists depicted on Dunsmuir are riding outside the bike infrastructure! Here’s two of them riding in the road instead of behind the green planted buffer to our right:

But even more alarming? TWICE in the video they have cars driving the wrong way up the separated bike lane!!! See those below: Read more…

Streetsblog NYC 14 Comments

Is This the Best Transit Ad Ever?

SF editor’s note: I can personally vouch for the speed, reliability and comfort of Midttrafik, as I relied on it during my semester in Denmark. 

The idea of investing in transit is popular with Americans, even among those who don’t depend on it. But trains and buses, buses in particular, have always had an image problem. U.S. transit providers could take a cue from this Danish ad, which makes light of the mundane nature of bus travel (free handles!) in a way that actually makes transit look “cool.” Turn on the captions for the full effect.

Hat tip to Dani Simons.

StreetFilms 35 Comments

Ad Nauseum: “Truffula Seal of Approval?” Mazda Uses the Lorax to Sell Cars

Can you believe this?  Does this get you riled up? You need to take a gander at this new commercial for Mazda’s CX-5, an advertising partner for Universal Pictures Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax”. It’s the latest, most outrageous act of Hollywood greed.

“Certified Truffula Tree Friendly”?! I can’t tell you how sick that “endorsement” makes me.

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