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Mar 30, 2013

The New Canadian Tire Bike Commercial Bugs Me

WARNING - mini rant ahead...

Canadian Tire has a very long history in Canada as being THE place that many kids get their first bike from.  You know that bike, the one poorly assembled by the neighbour who was "into bikes", heavy as a boat anchor, and covered in decorative plastic crap? 

Indeed, that bike was probably a BSO (bicycle shaped object) but it was your BSO and you loved it no matter what because it offered you that feeling we all fall in love with when riding a bicycle, even a crappy bicycle - freedom!

Remember this ad from a few years back?  A tear jerker for sure but real in that many of us remember being that kid desperately wanting that sweet red bike in the Canadian Tire (or Eatons, Sears, etc) catalogue more than anything else in your life.

But then along comes this - 

Right form the beginning it comes off as some sort of unreal suburban fantasy bike land, with the children happily commandeering the roadway and flaunting the law as if they're hosting their own critical mass to the local park.  You'd think this is some neighbourhood in Vancouver or Portland where everyone pedals and no one drives anywhere. They're even making the old lady down the street nervous, bloody cyclists.

But there are problems with this world they are trying to illustrate - 

Problem 1 - Lots of parents these days won't let their kids ride bikes to the park on their own because they're terrified that they'll be run down by some errant, distracted, speeding driver.  It's hard to argue with that perspective when so many neighbourhoods are outright hostile to children playing in the streets and community design that favours the movement of cars first and the safety and movement of people last.  The community shown doesn't even have sidewalks!

Problem 2 - Where are all the cars?

Problem 3 - The Canadian Tire Guy du Jour.  I hate this guy!  I cannot tell if his expression is meant to convey a sense of shame, coolness, or incredulity - maybe all three?  It he ashamed to be riding that toy?  Is he just too cool for school with his motorcycle helmet on?  Or is he just skeptical that any of this could happen in real life?

I know, I am definitely over analyzing it but there are so many things that tweaked me I wanted to post it and get your opinion.

What do you think?

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