I don’t think you could find a better pitchman than William Shatner for targeting your product to aging baby boomers. Shatner is well known to us as Star Trek’s iconic Captain Kirk and TJ Hooker’s Sgt. T.J. Hooker. The man has no less than 242 acting credits in film and television. And I believe he is almost as effective reaching younger generations due to his music recordings that are a guilty pleasure. The man is a national treasure.
A MAJOR COUP
For electric-motorized bicycle company Pedego to get the icon as their pitchman is a major coup. The larger bicycle companies got seriously outflanked by the smaller and craftier Pedego. Unfortunately, like a player who catches a Hail-Mary pass only to trip on his shoelaces, Pedego made a serious fumble.
A PUZZLING MESSAGE
Pedego secured Shatner’s endorsement only to squander it on an ill-conceived advertisement. The ad, brace yourself, proclaims that riding a Pedego bike is more fun than getting a colonoscopy. What isn’t more fun than getting a colonoscopy? Heck, getting a root canal is more fun than getting a colonoscopy. I assume the ad was an attempt at humor or looking for a bit of shock value, but it falls flat. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. The ad logged 194,789 views on YouTube and only 15 of those viewers gave it a thumbs up as of April 22nd.
Pedego set the bar low with this ad. The advertisement could have targeted “popular” fitness activities that a Pedego bike blows away. Running is punishment (ever see a runner smiling?). Non-motorized cycling loses its appeal on steep hills or pushing into a headwind. Spending time in a smelly gym or going nowhere on a treadmill takes the fun out of fitness. A Pedego levels the playing field so people can ride with friends and enjoy the camaraderie. But no, riding a Pedego is only better than enduring a colonoscopy.
A BLATANT DISREGARD FOR CUSTOMER SAFETY
Another issue is that neither rider wears a helmet (or gloves or protective eyewear). William Shatner is in his late 80’s and according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every five falls by an older adult results in serious injury, such as broken bones, a hip fracture or head trauma. Nationally, 55 percent of all unintentional deaths among American adults in 2012-13 were due to falls, according to the CDC. It is unconscionable for Pedego to show their high-speed* products being operated without riders using the most basic of protective equipment.
Getting people out of their cars or off the couch to ride an electric-motorized bicycle is an admirable endeavor. It is a shame that a pitchman of William Shatner’s stature was used so ineffectively to reach that goal.
* An electric-motorized bike allows a rider to go significantly faster than on a non-motorized bicycle.