Volkswagen disses ‘our nation of cyclists’



During the World Cup qualifiers in Seine-Saint-Denis just north of Paris last Thursday, Volkswagen France thought it appropriate to diss the entire country of the Netherlands with some advertising that read “We’re not going to let a nation of cyclists block our path”. Remember, this advertising was approved by the French Football Federation.

While it’s true the French team had no problems moving the Dutch team out of the way with a 4-0 victory, French social media and surely others weren’t impressed with what Volkswagen called “humour”. ‘It was just a joke’ is the classic response people give after they get caught saying something stupid.

Volkswagen was quick in issuing a formal apology in French, claiming they’re cycling fans as well.

We’re talking about this because we speak French, but the Dutch press isn’t talking about this yet, so you may have read it here in English first. Maybe Volkswagen needs to learn what “speel op de bal, niet op de man” (roughly, ‘kick the ball, not the man’) means.

Cher Volkswagen France, on ne va pas laisser une entreprise qui ment au public depuis des années nous dire des conneries.

(Dear Volkwagen France, we’re not going to let a company that has been lying to the public for years talk rubbish about us.)

(Link and photo:

1 Comment »

  1. Michel Kater says:

    I am a cyclist. I am also born in Holland. My father was Dutch and my mother French. I don’t see why you guys are so upset about this advert by VW. Maybe you are being ironic/sarcastc. I think its funny, its just what someone might say as a joke in saying the French National Football Team isn’t going to let the Netherlands National Football Team thwart their quest for World Football Cup qualification. Holland is a nation of cyclists…. fact. Their expressed desire that a nation of cyclists is not going to be able to stop the French team from advancing is fair enough in a humorous context. The appropriate counter might be (in a sport the Dutch excell at) in a game against the French might be “we wont let a nation of Baguette munchers stand in our way”

    Please retain your sense of humour if indeed this article is not satire…. :-)

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