Acura brings “elegance” to vehicular homicide

Acura ad in Toronto encourages aggressive driving

Since I work in marketing, and advertising is a large part of what I do, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about words.

I’ll turn over a short sentence dozens of times trying to find a word or words that instantly convey my message. Some sentences speak volumes and every ad copy writer knows this.

The above ad is currently on display in Toronto. It overlooks both the Martin Goodman Trail and Lake Shore Boulevard West. This ad can be seen by thousands of commuters heading into downtown Toronto for work. I ride this stretch of trail by bicycle almost every day. I witness bumper to bumper traffic and on more days than not there are traffic police positioned to stop speeders and control aggressive driving.

Yet some copy writer, some ad agency and some company executive who approved the above ad felt that “Aggression” was the best word to use. To them aggression may mean strength. To them aggression may symbolize the drive to succeed in a busy metropolis. To them aggression is a powerful buzzword that connects their product, a car, to a life of financial success.

But “aggression” is much, much more than that, especially in Toronto right now.

Aggression and violence are sibling words. Aggression is usually first on the scene but where aggression exists you can be sure that violence isn’t too far behind. Aggression is the reason we have the “Street Racing” law in Ontario. Aggression is the reason why hundreds of people every year are killed on roads around the world. Aggression is the reason why we have so many police officers on traffic patrol.

Acura, there is nothing “elegant” about aggression. Aggression is an ugly and offensive word. In a busy city where you are going to encounter people who drive slower than you, people who walk across streets and people who are in just as big a rush as you are, aggression leads to collisions and regrets and death.

Let’s ask the family of Darcy Allan Sheppard what the word “aggression” means to them.

Let’s ask the family of Tahir Khan what the word “aggression” means to them.

Aggression is why there is strong opposition to the current mayor’s use of war metaphors to describe transportation choices. Behind the wheel of a car, on the saddle of a bicycle or simply walking on your own two feet is never an act of aggression. Aggression leads to rash decisions. Aggression is the result of selfish, anti-social behaviour. Aggression exists outside of rational thought.

Yet here is an ad placed outside of Ontario Place, a family destination. This ad faces thousands of people who may be frustrated that their drive was so long. This ad faces the commuting cyclists who will each have a story or two to share about the face of aggression.

You see Acura, Toronto has no room on its roads for aggression.

About duncan

Duncan rides bicycles in the city of Toronto and contributes to the main blog of BikingToronto as well as writing and taking photos for his blog Duncan's City Ride.

Comments

  1. A great message, Duncan. Every cyclist knows the truth behind your words.

    I admit, though, I was confused by this line: “Behind the wheel of a car, on the saddle of a bicycle or simply walking on your own two feet is never an act of aggression.” Do you mean that these actions aren’t inherently aggressive? I’d agree with that, since I believe that it’s the way something is done — not the fact that it’s done — that makes it aggressive.

    Too true, though, is the idea that much automotive marketing seems to promote aggression. Makes me wonder how the trend started … if cars are such a great option, why manipulate people into buying them?

    DK

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I did mean to say that none of these acts (walking, cycling, driving) are by nature aggressive. Yet when it comes to marketing cars aggression seems to be the go-to benefit. This truck will aggressively handle all the rocks or junk you put in the back or this car will aggressively handle corners on the mean streets. The marketing of vehicles always points out just how weak we are without the product.

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