Philadelphians Are Angry at Scotch Brand's Bike Promotion
A good rule of thumb when designing a creative promotional campaign is "don't get in the way of and anger an entire city's bicycle community, especially when that city is kind of known for getting angry about things."
Naked Grouse, a brand of Scotch whiskey, didn't abide by that rule when it chained bicycles that doubled as billboards to bike racks across Philadelphia.
Here's the thing about Philly: It's very densely populated, and given its increasing amount of bike lanes and flat layout, it's extremely easy for people to bike around. Combining the population density, number of cyclists and scarcity of bike racks, you're left with a sizable group of people really angry at your brand if you, you know, occupy a bunch of bike racks with immovable ads.
This, folks, is not a good way to create positive brand impressions.
— Randy LoBasso (@RandyLoBasso) March 18, 2019
Bike promotions can be tricky. Aside from taking up space, it's a weird way to fully get your message across. You might think, "Well, it's a mobile advertisement! What's the problem?"
If you recall, Orangetheory Fitness did a promotional campaign where it locked orange bikes around the streets of London, Ontario. The problem was that the bikes, which were painted all orange, were mistaken for "ghost bike" tributes where people lock up painted bikes at the scene of a fatal bicycle accident.
So, the lesson here for promotional distributors is this: Bikes are mobile advertisements, and can be a product that end-users hold onto for a long time. But, getting in the way of people's daily lives and making them think that people are dying on bikes all over town is not the way to approach this particular style of promotional campaign.