Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Scion apologizes, pulls insensitive ad

Posted by on July 23rd, 2013 at 9:49 am

Scion has apologized.

Scion has pulled an ad that referred to people riding bicycles as “obstacles.” The ad, which we highlighted on July 11th, had a fighting theme and the “King of the road” was its tC model sportscar.

Over the weekend, a reader pointed us to a blog post on Scion.com (which seems to be incorrectly dated to July 2nd), where the company addressed the concerns about the ad and announced its removal:

Scion sincerely apologizes to members of the bicycling community that might have been offended by a recent advertisement. It was certainly not our intention to do so as Scion has great respect for bicyclists. Scion is sensitive to your opinion and in response, has made the decision to remove the advertisement.

Your feedback is appreciated as it is through communications such as yours that we become aware of our customers’ expectations and reactions. It also provides us with valuable insight when developing future advertising strategies.

If you have any further questions or comments, call us toll free at 1-866-70-SCION, Monday-Friday 5am-6pm PST and Saturdays 7am-4pm PST.

Thank you for your interest in Scion.

We’re happy to see this ad pulled. There’s enough tension and anger between road users already. The last thing we need is a car company making it seem like some sort of game where the victory goes to the most aggressive and strongest player.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Anne Hawley July 23, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I’m delighted to have contributed to what must have been a deluge of negative feedback, astonished tweets, outraged re-blogs, etc. Scion did the right thing. Pulling the ad is one thing, but I’m also reasonably impressed with the wording of the apology.

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  • Jeff July 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Clearly they have great respect for bicyclists. Also for traffic cones and potholes.

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  • anon1q2w3e4r5t July 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I believe the reason for the incorrect post date is because they just swapped out the announcement for a new car model featured in that ad and replaced it with the apology.

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  • Craig July 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    This ad has not been pulled. I saw it on local broadcast TV last night.

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  • A.K. July 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Super annoyed by this ad, as one of the reasons I love my Scion is because I can fit my bike in the back without having to remove the wheels or use a stupid roof/trunk rack.

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    • anon1q2w3e4r5t July 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      I removed the entire back seat of my car to fit my bike without having to remove the wheels. 🙂

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  • borgbike July 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Is the ad gone forever from the internet? There should be a record of this somewhere.

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    • A.K. July 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Nothing is ever gone forever from the internet!

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  • 9watts July 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Ah, the political uses of the subjunctive:
    “Scion sincerely apologizes to members of the bicycling community that might have been offended by a recent advertisement.”

    I don’t think members of the bicycling community might have been offended; they were offended. Hard to imagine you, Scion, taking this step of pulling the ad if your wording were accurate. And you, Scion mgmt. *might* want to explain how you came to approve the ad in the first place; what the thinking was that suggested it was in good humor, or whatever.

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    • q`Tzal July 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      How about this odd ball theory:
      Despite the reasonable assumption that the advertisement was written by a domestic ad company it is possible that final approval came from Toyota Corporate HQ overseas.
      Anyone not from America might have a hard time understanding or believing the underclass status of anyone that uses a bicycle in America and thus might approve an advert that otherwise looks like normal USA machismo gone wild.

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  • Matt July 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    It always amazes me that a huge company like Toyota would want to piss anybody off. Why make enemies? At lest they did the right thing, finally.

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  • q`Tzal July 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I noted this on the 13th of July in your last article.
    When I found the Scion blog I saw comments ranging back a few days before your first article. Of course I didn’t spend hours digging through the blog looking for fraud.

    How are you determining that “JULY 2nd” is inaccurate?

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  • grimm July 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I bet their ad company Attik is ANGRY. Hahaha.

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  • Mont July 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Their apology was sincere,over a minor thing, seems like much ado about nothing. Even as a cyclist I have trouble finding anything to be upset about here.

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    • Bici October 20, 2013 at 5:58 am

      Then you’re clearly not thinking about the consequences of referring to cyclists as ‘obstacles’ – we operate on roads that are already bursting with rage and aggression, and ads like this only intensify that.

      And I’d also question the ‘sincerity’ of an apology that does it’s upmost to shine the best light on the company, rather than actually taking full responsibility for their decision.

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