I ran across this commercial the other day while watching some drivel on TV:
I was immediately struck by the very prominently displayed bicycle line drawing art (which I now want by the way.) I did find myself wondering “Why in the heck would the advertisers do that?” As an urban cyclist, I more often view the bicycle as something to be used instead of a car. It reminded me of a MotorTrend article I had read recently examining the decline in car ownership in the younger generations:
Automakers pitch new small cars, from the Fiat 500 to the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic to the Acura ILX, as models designed to appeal to America’s urban-oriented Generation Y. Marketing experts fill product presentations with statistics and anecdotes of how tuned-in youth fetishize smartphones, the Internet, and keeping in touch with friends via Facebook from their loft apartments in “walkable” cities.
Cars? Not so much.
The problem begins with the assumption that youth moving back to the cities want A- or B-segment hatchbacks, when they’re more likely to spend the money on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and $2000-plus bikes.
There are actually quite a few articles regarding this topic (maybe start here, here and here if you like) that seem to convey the same basic idea: the so-called Millennials all want to be urbanite hipsters without a car.
It would seem that the ad agency working with Scion is taking this idea seriously. By carefully positioning the bike artwork prominently in the commercial, they are in fact creating a connection to this group that may be inclined to choose the bike over the car. It is saying “Hey, lookie here. These guys are cool, like bikes and still have a car. You want the car they have, because they are just like you!”
Frankly, if my thinking here is correct, I’m kind of tickled by it. If the auto industry sees fit to invest advertising dollars targeting bike owners, we must be rising out of our minority status.
Incidentally, I found one more scion commercial while searching for a link to the above that is far less subtle in this effort: