City bike advertising is no new thing. With companies such as Nike and Citi offering branded bikes in Portland, Oregon and New York, New York respectively, it’s no wonder why other companies are interested in utilizing the popular mode of transportation as marketing tools. Now, a company is offering brands just that: the ability to advertise themselves without the commitment of providing the bicycles.
In a partnership with Cooper, the creator of Mini Cooper, London-based company Buzzbike is offering Londoners free bikes for a small deposit of £100 ($145). That amount gets the user not only a bike, but a Hiplok DC lock, bike lights, insurance, and servicing. The catch is that they must commit to riding the bike to work a minimum of 12 days a month and they must park the bike on the street. In order to ensure the user is fulfilling the requirements, riders are required to use Buzzbike’s app that will collect data from the user.
The strange stipulation is set to make sure that the bikes are visible to the public since Buzzbike plans on using the bikes as advertising space. The idea is that a company would approach Buzzbike and arrange to use the bikes as a branding tool across the city. This would allow multiple brands to have access to mobile advertising without the commitment. “I was amazed by the number of bikes on the road and thought that if we could do marketing and advertising on bikes–but do it with integrity, do it the Apple way, if you like–then bikes could be an interesting creative platform,” Tom Hares, CEO and co-founder of Buzzbike, tells Creative Review. In addition to the mobile marketing tool, brands would also have access to the data collected by Buzzbike’s app.
“The way we sign people up is largely on their home postcode and their work postcode, most importantly their work. Then we get a sense of where we’re going to be parking the bike–because they have to park on the street–and that allows us to cluster those campaigns so the bikes are going to be seen,” Hares explains. “But ideally over time we can be as inclusive as possible, and get as many out there as possible, as we sign up with more brand partners.”
Buzzbike plans to launch in the fall with around 100 bikes with another 1,000 planned for deployment next spring. Learn more about the initiative here.