One of the benefits of living abroad is being exposed to innovative ideas that are just waiting to be transplanted back to native soils. The question of “why don’t we do this at home?” is enthusiastically answered with “let’s do this at home!”
Living in the United Kingdom (Oxford), I am particularly smitten with one popular advertising tool in these parts that has not yet gathered much traction across the pond. I’m referring to branded bike seat covers.
Like Vancouver, it rains a whole lot in these parts. Also like Vancouver, commuter cycling is a growing movement with support from cities, businesses, and a bike “lifestyle” culture that grows every single year. Irrespective of ideological motivations, commuting by bike just makes practical sense to a large part of the population. Many of those bikes are being locked on outdoor bike racks. Almost every new building offers bike racks near the entrance. This visibility provides a canvas of opportunity for marketing professionals.
Waterproof seat covers are either handed-out as promotional items or applied directly to parked bikes in target neighbourhoods. They come in small carrying pouches. The recipient gets to protect their seat and avoid the unpleasant experience of getting back on a soaking saddle. As any Vancouver bike commuter knows, rain is an unpleasant certainty. The advertiser gets valuable brand awareness opportunities for years to come.
Branded high-visibility backpack covers provide a similar opportunity. Despite a legacy of tweed, high-visibility clothing is ubiquitous in UK cities (even without MEC). Neon/reflective backpack covers are great for both commuter cyclists and pedestrians (including transit commuters). For every marketing dollar you spend, you also help make safer streets for all of us.
OnYerBikeSeat.com is a leading supplier of both bike seat and backpack covers here in the UK. They are London-based, but sell into the North American market. These things are all the rage over here and I’m obviously a big fan. I don’t have any formal relationship with the company, but I do support good ideas.
Why so slow on the take-up Vancouver?
Let me propose some copy to get you started with your seat covers: