Lost In Translation: Apache Cycles Offends at Eurobike

Czech e-bike brand launches major campaign based on Native Americans


Maybe it was the “join our tribe.” Maybe it was the teepee displays, the paper feather headdresses, or the bike named Scalp. Or, it could have been using historical images of famous Native Americans like Geronimo and Iron White Man. No, it was all of the above and more, a collective offensive effort, as Czech electric bicycle company Apache Bicycles stunned American visitors at last week’s Eurobike trade show in Germany with its American Indian themed booth, bikes, and campaign.

As the trade publication Bicycle Retailer put it, “Apache’s branding shocked some visitors from the U.S., where American Indian-themed marketing has become increasingly unacceptable in recent years.”

Um, yeah.

Apache, which sells 95 percent of its bikes in the Czech Republic and has no plans to distribute in the United States, also had representatives dressed in faux Indian garb.

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Photos via Apache

 

Showing 15 comments
  • Calvin Montgomery
    Reply

    Ignorant, insensitive, shameful, grand scale commercial bigotry and disgusting come to mind; among several other words. Who do they think they are? ” Scalp” really? By some chance is the CEO’s name Custer? What do they think gives them the right to use portraits of Native American leaders? Do they even know who these men were and what they meant to Native peoples? These crass commercialists are the enemies of thoughtful people everywhere. May the flames of retribution destroy their lodges and the sweeping tide of indignation wash away all evidence of their existance!

  • Nick
    Reply

    OMG!! (fake rage and virtue signaling at its finest)

    • Ory
      Reply

      “Um, yeah.” …probably written while sipping a “sustainable” Starbucks looking at pictures of family coffee growers used for marketing. Its too easy to call out blatantly offensive marketing ploys to get our voice published. Lets have more investigation into the effective marketing we all feed into for convenience, and realize that we, the consumers, drive the demand that feeds the marketing beast. We need consumer advocacy, not just rage over low hanging fruit.

  • chief kikapoo
    Reply

    Hmmm…are we being trolled? Is Sasha Cohen the president of this company?? After having so much nonsense shoved down our throats by the PC police, I actually find the brands obliviousness hilarious!

  • DanO
    Reply

    NOW you know how I feel about that HAGAR THE HORRIBLE cartoon!! Misappropriation of my cultural roots, horns on helmets, depiction of casual violence. When will it end??!

  • George
    Reply

    Way overdone on the critsm maybe they make good bikes-by the way Europeans are fascinated with the American Indian

  • Marta
    Reply

    Pretty poor taste – this comment coming from someone who usually scoffs at everyone who gets offended by everything.

  • Natek
    Reply

    I think it’s fine for you to make fun of YOUR roots DanO, just not somebody else’s. This is cultural appropriation at it’s worst.
    Commenting here is nice, but you should really let Apache know how you feel…
    https://apache-bike.cz/en/contact

  • Nick
    Reply

    At least Apache Cycles is doing their best to address rampant misogyny in the bike industry by dressing up a couple women in some Native Halloween outfits. So, c’mon, let’s give credit where it’s due.

  • Scewtapes
    Reply

    That’s it! I REFUSE to ever buy something from these clowns! Oh wait….they aren’t ever going to market in the US, you say? They sell 95% of their stuff in their home country, you say?

    Why do we care? Some tiny retailer thousands of miles and a HUGE cultural rift away does something that offends Americans and we want to tell them what’s up? Oh, the arrogance of people these days….

    First of all, they’ll see comments from people outside of their marketing area and say “Meh.” Second, do you honestly think you can tell someone living on another continent how to live their life when it has exactly zero impact on you or anyone else close to you? We can’t even say it’s in poor taste because how do they know? They haven’t been living in our crazy society, they probably only know about Native Americans from Hollywood (which we all know portrayed them in a breathtakingly accurate light, right?)

    • Natek
      Reply

      The comment I left was encouraging them to reach out to the Tribes they are using a marketing collateral and ask them if it’s ok to use their grandparent’s images to sell bikes. That’s all. If they disregard it, that’s their choice.

      For what it’s worth.. in one of the images, they are seeking distributors to join their tribe. It’s gonna be much easier to effect their branding plan before they get bigger. At least they should know that their approach is offensive to some people.

      Trying to inform, trying not to judge

  • Greg
    Reply

    I’m more concerned about this ebike trend than the Czech’s misunderstanding of Native American issues.

  • DanO
    Reply

    Natek,

    I did not make fun of ANY Native American culture in my post, and reading that into my comment is a reach at best. While I agree APACHE’s campaign was in poor taste. and the Czechs are pretty clueless, my tongue-in-cheek comment was over the outrage expressed over the issue. In my mind there are a lot bigger issues in our country to be incensed over.

    Deciding an oil pipeline you don’t want in Fargo should go through Reservation land? I’m outraged. This, not so much. But if the Apache tribes could get together and sue for using their name, I would find that wonderful!

    • Natek
      Reply

      sorry DanO, was not trying to imply you were making fun of Native culture, just of anyone offended by APACHE’s campaign. Agreed there are bigger issues.

  • lladnar nivep
    Reply

    and their marketing strategy has worked well beyond their wildest expectations…..

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