State Farm on the Humiliation of Biking to Work

<p>A new 30-second television commercial from State Farm insurance suggests that commuting to work by bike is humiliating. But is the ad sending a more subversive message?</p>
April 6, 2008, 9am PDT | naparstek
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The Scene: An African American actor with a shaved head, conservative gray suit and slightly stiff demeanor asks, "Where can you find me? At the intersection of gas prices can not get any higher and guess what? Gas prices just got higher."

Jangly rock music is playing in the background. The camera pulls back and we see he's standing in the parking lot of an anonymous corporate office building in Any Suburb, USA. Instead of suit pants, he's wearing bright red spandex shorts, dark dress socks pulled up mid-calf and white sneakers. He looks ridiculous. And he's standing next to a bicycle. Adding a surreal touch to the whole thing, he is also standing on a bright red circular carpet.

"You know that place where you're swapping four wheels for two?" He looks down at his own outfit with an apparent sense of resigned humiliation. "Oh, man, I'm there."

Editor's note: Yeah, I know that place. It's called a city....

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Published on Thursday, April 3, 2008 in Streetsblog
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