Compare and Contrast

Copenhagenize draws our attention to this Audi ad that highlights some suckier aspects of “alternative” transportation while emphasizing the ridiculous highway conditions required to enjoy the exhilarating commute enjoyed by Audi drivers. If you drive an Audi, you’ll never have miserable commutes hindered by weather or those pesky other people. This ad shows the Audi is the ideal choice for misanthropic sociopaths.

The reality? Big stretches of I-25 along the Colorado Front Range were closed on Wednesday due to accidents in the wake of a winter storm. Audi drivers are just as subject to the road conditions as any other motorist in Colorado this week.

Silicon Valley Highway 101 Traffic Hell

The reality? The 280,000 commuters — including those with Audis — who normally drive across the Oakland Bay Bridge between San Francisco and the East Bay are out of luck after the dramatic failure of a supporting cable closed the bridge. BART and the ferry boats were crowded on Wednesday, but those people got to work and home in a timely manner. Everybody driving along the Bay Bridge Tuesday night were stuck.

The reality? People in Audis are hospitalized and even killed in “freak accidents”. Even small children aren’t spared.

Waiting for the light

The reality? There’s a guy somewhere near my office with a yellow Lotus sports car. It’s a hot looking car with a 200+ hp engine that does 0-60 in 4 seconds, gets about 10 mpg, and has a top speed of 150 mph. And he sits stopped in rush hour traffic with all the other losers as I pass by him on my bicycle every single day I see him.

Willow Road morning traffic

The reality from a bike often looks a lot like this video that I shot while cycling in Santa Cruz County.

The reality? Riding a bike is often exhilarating fun, even in the rain, often in the snow, even in traffic, even at night, and especially with other people around.

I don’t necessarily hate cars (I drive too), but I do hate anti bike car ads.

All photos by Richard Masoner.

24 Comments

  • Andreas
    October 29, 2009 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

    haha absolutely great comeback to that advert by Audi. Not quite sure what they are thinking by showing it. Like your video also, don't think I have ever reached 40mph on a bike, not that many amazing downhills in flat England!

  • Andreas
    October 29, 2009 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    haha absolutely great comeback to that advert by Audi. Not quite sure what they are thinking by showing it. Like your video also, don't think I have ever reached 40mph on a bike, not that many amazing downhills in flat England!

  • Jamie Fellrath
    October 29, 2009 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Love it all! Wish there was a way we could link to this article from the TV, where most people are going to see the Audi ad.

  • Jamie Fellrath
    October 29, 2009 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Love it all! Wish there was a way we could link to this article from the TV, where most people are going to see the Audi ad.

  • Functional Cycling
    October 29, 2009 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I know that some advertising agency came up with this to make earth friendly seem more mainstream (or to make the diesel Audi seem more eearth friendly.) But soon we will see more ads like this one because the auto industry will be slowly replaced with bicycles, trains, buses, walking, etc.

  • Functional Cycling
    October 29, 2009 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    I know that some advertising agency came up with this to make earth friendly seem more mainstream (or to make the diesel Audi seem more eearth friendly.)

    But soon we will see more ads like this one because the auto industry will be slowly replaced with bicycles, trains, buses, walking, etc.

  • James T.
    October 29, 2009 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Agreed… great response, Fritz! The reality is that riding a bike is better than driving because it is FUN. Regardless of how car manufacturers choose to advertise their products, bike manufacturers need to remember that a better experience is really what they are really selling. The health and environmental benefits are great byproducts of bike commuting, but bike companies need to convince people that they can offer something that will improve their lives. Audi is trying to do just that, but as you point out, we have reality on our side.

  • James T.
    October 29, 2009 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Agreed… great response, Fritz! The reality is that riding a bike is better than driving because it is FUN. Regardless of how car manufacturers choose to advertise their products, bike manufacturers need to remember that a better experience is really what they are really selling. The health and environmental benefits are great byproducts of bike commuting, but bike companies need to convince people that they can offer something that will improve their lives. Audi is trying to do just that, but as you point out, we have reality on our side.

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 29, 2009 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

    What drives me nuts about the Audi ad is that it portrays people as just obstacles. The people nudged around on the bus and the guy on the "personal mobility device" going against the flow on the sidewalk have to deal with those icky yucky people. Audi sells us isolation in their ad.Yes, I sat next to a guy with personal hygiene issues last night on the bus, but I've also met a tremendous number of fascinating people and made friends on the bus and train. Driving a car everyday it's just boring sameness, which is why I guess reality TV shows are so popular. I get my reality from … well, reality :-)

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 29, 2009 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    What drives me nuts about the Audi ad is that it portrays people as just obstacles. The people nudged around on the bus and the guy on the "personal mobility device" going against the flow on the sidewalk have to deal with those icky yucky people. Audi sells us isolation in their ad.

    Yes, I sat next to a guy with personal hygiene issues last night on the bus, but I've also met a tremendous number of fascinating people and made friends on the bus and train. Driving a car everyday it's just boring sameness, which is why I guess reality TV shows are so popular. I get my reality from … well, reality :-)

  • getinlost
    October 29, 2009 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I see you also have a spot of "Yellow Fever".

  • getinlost
    October 29, 2009 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    I see you also have a spot of "Yellow Fever".

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 29, 2009 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Carl hahahahaha! GREAT eye! It's too bad Buzz had to close his shop down.

  • Yokota Fritz
    October 29, 2009 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Carl hahahahaha! GREAT eye! It's too bad Buzz had to close his shop down.

  • murphstahoe
    October 29, 2009 - 8:27 pm | Permalink

    "but I've also met a tremendous number of fascinating people and made friends on the bus and train"When I decided to leave AMD, I was assisted greatly in getting my new job with someone whom I only knew from the Caltrain. You don't get that sort of Networking on US-101

  • murphstahoe
    October 29, 2009 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    "but I've also met a tremendous number of fascinating people and made friends on the bus and train"

    When I decided to leave AMD, I was assisted greatly in getting my new job with someone whom I only knew from the Caltrain. You don't get that sort of Networking on US-101

  • ramkum
    October 29, 2009 - 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Fritz. That's a horrible ad, and this is a terrific response.

  • ramkum
    October 29, 2009 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Fritz. That's a horrible ad, and this is a terrific response.

  • gryhrt
    October 29, 2009 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

    While I do disagree with Audi’s choice to market their car by mocking different forms of alternative transportation, the fact remains that this country’s infrastructure has been built around the automobile. Modern cars use less fuel than older models, and manage to burn it much more cleanly as well, which are often competing goals. For those of us who are unable to commute by bicycle, a “clean” diesel may be a good choice. Or a yellow 240hp Lotus Exige, which gets 20mpg city and 26mpg highway (fuelecomony.gov).I can’t comment on a gridlocked commute – I live in the Midwest, where I drive 40 miles through farm country to get to where I work. If I had to deal with gridlock, you can bet I’d be looking at ways to get to work other than driving.Don’t get me wrong – I love my bicycles, and I’m trying to be more aware of ways I can use my bike for running errands around town instead of driving, but we also have to strive to make cars more fuel efficient, cleaner, and we have to market those cars to a sometimes reluctant buying public.

  • gryhrt
    October 29, 2009 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    While I do disagree with Audi’s choice to market their car by mocking different forms of alternative transportation, the fact remains that this country’s infrastructure has been built around the automobile. Modern cars use less fuel than older models, and manage to burn it much more cleanly as well, which are often competing goals. For those of us who are unable to commute by bicycle, a “clean” diesel may be a good choice. Or a yellow 240hp Lotus Exige, which gets 20mpg city and 26mpg highway (fuelecomony.gov).

    I can’t comment on a gridlocked commute – I live in the Midwest, where I drive 40 miles through farm country to get to where I work. If I had to deal with gridlock, you can bet I’d be looking at ways to get to work other than driving.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love my bicycles, and I’m trying to be more aware of ways I can use my bike for running errands around town instead of driving, but we also have to strive to make cars more fuel efficient, cleaner, and we have to market those cars to a sometimes reluctant buying public.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2009 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    gryhrt, I don't think the insult is against the Audi car as compared to other cars, it's against the message. I'm sure most anyone here would rather people buy a fuel efficient car than an inefficient one. I'm not sure I agree with you about the marketing. If selling a reluctant public means portraying aggressive car driving as fun while public transportation and biking are dreary and each of them are "doing your part" then something is wrong. I would hope people aren't silly enough to pretend they are the same either environmentally or ethically (and by ethically I mean land use wise, which, in your more rural area isn't anti-social unlike using the majority of public space for cars in a dense city).An antisocial pro-car mentality is the problem, not people who have real needs to use a car and respect others in the process of doing it.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2009 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    gryhrt, I don't think the insult is against the Audi car as compared to other cars, it's against the message. I'm sure most anyone here would rather people buy a fuel efficient car than an inefficient one. I'm not sure I agree with you about the marketing. If selling a reluctant public means portraying aggressive car driving as fun while public transportation and biking are dreary and each of them are "doing your part" then something is wrong. I would hope people aren't silly enough to pretend they are the same either environmentally or ethically (and by ethically I mean land use wise, which, in your more rural area isn't anti-social unlike using the majority of public space for cars in a dense city).

    An antisocial pro-car mentality is the problem, not people who have real needs to use a car and respect others in the process of doing it.

  • Freewheel
    October 30, 2009 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Well done! I hope this post goes viral.

  • Freewheel
    October 30, 2009 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Well done! I hope this post goes viral.

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