We saw one of those back-of-a-bus adverts the other day as we went about our lawful business on Her Majesty's highway driving up and down Aberdeen's Union Street. The advert was for the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative (ugh!). We couldn't get a photo at the time as we were using the phone to text our stockbroker, so we found this on the web... (It's got much the same content as we saw stuck to the back of the bus)
We are most pleased to note that the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative have made a critical strategic error in their cloying needy wish to promote cycling. Yes. The error they have made is to assume that we motorists want to save money! Hahaha! Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes; it's true that, whenever there's a petrol-tax-hike or cost increase because of record oil prices, there we are motorists-in-solidarity on-the-forecourt being interviewed - happy to be seen venting about paying "more than enough" to the edited-in noddy-shots of the cub reporter sent out to do his easy-peasy hack-work boilerplate on we "hard pressed" motorists who are "beleaguered".
Yes; it's true we love to complain - because in that complaining we get to boast about how much money we spend on our nice cars. Yes, our cars and their costs show that we are cash-rich and time-poor: the very badges of importance! The last thing you would want would be to have too much time on your hands! That's time which could be spent making money, that money in turn to be spent on getting a nicer car!
Yes; we roll our eyes and moan bitterly, but if you look closely... you'll see that our eyes are actually smiling - laughing even - with self-regarding relish. We like to show off - to display how much we're capable of spending in order to keep the show on the road - it makes us look important, affluent and - yes - busy. We have to be extra-busy to pay for the ever-increasing extra costs of motoring! And what could be more important than that?
Yes; the ever-increasing costs of motoring give us the chance to perform a Darwinian status-display dance. From the young contract engineer using his soft-top roadster as a fanny-magnet to the yummy-mummy piloting her vast Range Rover Vogue like an oil-tanker around the centre of town - higher fuel costs merely serve to enhance our status in the tribe - the tribe of the road.
So what the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative have failed to take into account in their mis-firing ad campaign is the fact that motoring in Aberdeen "City and Shire" is now a Veblen Good; the more expensive it is, the greater its attraction - motoring here is now the high status distilled essence of aspiration itself; motoring in Aberdeen makes you look rich, important, high status and sexy. The Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative advert just confirms that cycling is for people who can't afford to drive - people sliding down the social scale. poor people, unimportant, low-status losers who don't work hard enough and have too much time on their hands.
Now who would want to display that?