Did GM really think they could get away with this?

What were they thinking? They portray a girl in a car gloating while the embarrassed biker tries not to be identified? This ad, run in student newspapers and fliers across the country, infuriated and disgusted students, faculty and university staff. GM took their mockery of walkers and bikers one step further on their website by featuring a woman on the sidewalk being sprayed by a passing GM vehicle. This ad is still featured on their website as of October 12. GM thought they were being very cute, but apparently they did not anticipate the angry backlash from bikers, walkers and all those around the world who remember GM’s sleazy history.

“Not only has GM violated the norms of decency with the use of this crudity in a student newspaper, UCLA’s Daily Bruin, it has violated the decency and courtesy appropriate of a debtor” a furious Dick Jackson wrote. “GM, the company that required us taxpayers to bail it out in 2009, is now biting the young people who bear and will bear the environment and health damage of its gas swilling ways.  While every driver in LA knows that the reality which truly “sucks” is the grid-locked, car-loaded, obesity-enhancing, stress-generating car-toxicity of simple commuting in this region.  The company that helped destroy public transit in Los Angeles is now running a campaign to convince students who travel by environment-, fitness-, and efficiency-friendly bicycles that they are inferior to those who travel in highly discounted mini-trucks.  Shameless, isn’t it?”

GM has apparently stirred up a hornets' nest of creative responses. Hadji Corona, on Bike Rumor redesigned the Reality Sucks ad to propose an alternative campaign for  - Stop Driving, Start Pedaling!  And Simon MacMichael, on the UK's premier cycling website, road.cc suggests a more appropriate text for the GM ad:

“If you are a student looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt, care little about the environment, and want to lump two tons of steel around campus while paying through the nose for insurance, gas, and parking…General Motors has got a perfect deal for you. Bonus: it’ll make you fat and unhealthy! All you have to do is give up that dorky bicycle that’s easy to use, practically free, gets you some exercise and is actually fun to ride.”

Complaints about the GM ad in student newspapers have been so vociferous that, with their tail between their legs, GM has been forced to pull it, according to the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, etc and have been abjectly issueing a stream of apologies on Twitter.