Gas station without pumps

2011 June 11

Bicycles as advertising prop

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:02
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Marketplace from American Public Media did a short radio segment on bicycles yesterday.  Not bicycles as a commodity or as a vehicle, but as a marketing prop:

Advertising the Fornarnino Urban Beauty show. Image by designwallah:

Bicycles become trendy marketing tool.

In addition to Marketplace’s own slide show, There is a nice set of photos illustrating the trend by David Gartner (who has reserved all rights, so I did not copy them into this blog).

Now some people would think that I’d find it pleasing that bikes are so fashionable—after all, bikes have been my main transportation for 40 years, so attention from the fashion-makers should be a positive thing, right?


Bikes have come to connote coolness, urbanity, and romance, according to Sheron Davis. She’s a senior executive at the advertising firm BBDO. Even, she says, in places were bike lanes have faced criticism, everyone still loves bikes.

Davis says advertisers are trying to transfer the halo effect of biking to their own products. But she says all that marketing can also end up promoting biking, not just shoes or sofas.

Most of the shots in both photo collections are static bikes parked in shop windows.  The one that shows bikes being ridden is an ad that shows the riders helmetless, not watching where they are going, on a very wide sidewalk that has no pedestrians or other traffic.  So what they are promoting is not bicycling as transportation, but as sculpture.  Something to look at, not to use.

One sort of "bike sculpture" I approve of: bicycle parking post from the front of "The Bicycle Trip," one of the better bike shops in Santa Cruz.

Will this trend make any difference to bicycling as transportation? Maybe briefly, but not in a lasting way:

… next year, the retailers we spoke with said they’ll be off bikes, and on to the next big thing.

My hope is that the recent rise in bicycles for transportation and exercise is more lasting, and that cities don’t let the bike lanes and bike parking fall into decay.

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