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Zipcar's ads miss the mark

The recent kerfuffle over General Motors' anti-cycling ads has brought a renewed spotlight on a similar campaign by Zipcar called, Sometimes you just need a car.  

src=http://www.activetrans.org/sites/default/files/BusAdZipcar_606.jpgThe ads, which have been dsitributed for about a month now, highlight the inconveniences of other modes when it comes to carrying a lot of stuff.

Zipcar is coming under fire for belittling transit and cycling, particularly in the ad featuring a pair of business professionals awkwardly carrying meeting materials on bikes and another ad featuring mopey, depressed band members carrying their equipment on a bus.

Hardly anyone would deny car-sharing a place at the multi-modal table. In a posting several months ago on this blog, Active Trans recognized Zipcar for its positive impact.

src=http://www.activetrans.org/sites/default/files/BikeAdZipcar_606.jpgGiven that most of Zipcar's members don't own a car or have avoided owning multiple cars, Zipcar is wasting valuable marketing on the wrong message. The ads also violate the rule of not belittling at your primarly audience.  

A cyclist who is dedicated enough to be car-free and therefore a potential Zipcar member is likely aware of cargo options for his or her bicycle. And why denigrate public transit in any fashion when it's so important to your demographic?