Thursday, June 25, 2009

JCDecaux Leading the Way in Sustainable Advertising Media

JCDecaux could arguably claim to be Australia's most sustainable provider of advertising media.
Their 7 point environmental management plan includes:
  • net zero electricity - using solar panels and low energy lighting
  • net zero water consumption - using captured water in cleaning processes
  • zero waste to landfill - reducing waste and promoting usage of recyclable materials
  • benchmarking fuel efficiency and emissions -
  • improving community engagement - providing free advertising media for a large number of charities, communities and arts organisations, as well as providing 'free' bicycle hire using the cyclocity bicycle rental system (soon to be implemented in Brisbane).
  • ensuring all their suppliers comply with the sustainability goals
  • ensuring a sustainable corporate culture
Now, as a cyclist and pedestrian, I am far from being a fan of billboards on footpaths, but it appears that the trade-off for the Brisbane City bike hire scheme does not include additional billboards. The scheme is estimated to be costing Brisbane City Council ratepayers $800,000 per year for the next 20 years. And cyclists could benefit from additional spending on cycling infrastructure.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Get Inspired in September

I admit to being a big fan of the Paralympics. I find all these athletes inspirational.

If you missed Chris Scott taking gold in the individual pursuit (CP4) or Lindy Hou and pilot Toireasa Gallagher claiming bronze in the 1km blind and visually impaired time trial or indeed the game of the year between Brazil and Australia in the wheelchair basketball (a real cliffhanger in which Brazil led from the start and Australia won by one point in the last 5 seconds!) then it's time you tuned into the ABC.

And the added bonus is that the commentary is fantastic! I only hope that the commercial channels are watching so they can see and hear what good coverage is like.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Metropolis 2008

In October, Sydney will host Metropolis 2008, a meeting of Government and NGO representatives to talk about the issues of the day, eg, transport, urban development, sustainability, climate change, etc, etc.

In Mayor Clover Moore's welcome she says,
"Like other world cities, Sydney is grappling with the challenges posed by climate change and the opportunities these challenges offer to re-invent our cities in exciting and sustainable ways."

So it is interesting to note some of the optional tours being offered to delegates, eg, Harley Davidson tours, Jet boat, and sea plane tours. Obviously these are being offered to those delegates disinterested in climate change and sustainability.

And, while lip service is being paid to the use of public transport, it is interesting that public transport is not listed as a way to get around the various sites, eg, coach transfer to The Rocks, coach transfer to the Zoo, coach transfer to the Harbour Bridge, coach transfer to the Opera House. For heaven's sake, all these places are quite easy to access by public transport, walking and cycling! Fancy not recommending the ferry to get to the zoo, I mean, the views you get from the ferry alone are worth every cent even if you live in Sydney! And, God forbid, these exalted delegates might even get a chance to experience what it's like to catch a train, a bus, or a ferry in a city.

Why have this sort of talk fest if the people talking don't experience the day-to-day reality of living in a city?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Marketing Lesson for Bicycle Brands

During the Tour de France coverage on SBS we were constantly bombarded by 2 ads, one for a car and one for a bicycle. There are important marketing lessons to learn from watching these with regards to encouraging cycling, so sit back for the next minute and watch them again:
Skoda Car Ad

Avanti Bicycle Ad
Now, ask yourself which ad engaged you more, and why.

They are both beautiful ads.
But the reality is, car brands have long understood that the target audience is, well, people. Not cars. So you need to engage people in the brand experience. A successful car ad incorporates people experiencing something unique about the car. For Skoda this is about being "clever" and "simple".

Now for the avanti ad. Like most bicycle ads, there is not a person in sight. "You" are mentioned twice. Avanti, "the evolution continues", "going forward", but no mention of people. "I" am not engaged.

TV ads are expensive, so finding examples of bicycle TVCs is hard in Australia. Print, on the other hand is cheaper, so there are more examples. But, if you're like me, you tend not to engage at all in print ads. In newspapers and magazines you expect the ads to be on the left hand side of the page, so you really don't look at that page at all. You expect the ads to be more colourful than the stories, so your eyes gloss over the colour. Similarly with internet ads, you ignore the pop-ups, animations, banners and towers, because you know that's where the ads will be.
Car brands understand all this, so often the print ads are simple, and often employ long copy in the hope that interested people will read it. But it's really about brand recognition and frequency. Bicycle ads are often limited to bicycle magazines, so playing on features is fine, afterall the people reading the magazine have already expressed their interest in bikes by reading the mag. Engaging people in the ad would be better though.
Occasionally, bicycle ads are incorporated into mass media. The image below was used by Apollo in 2007 in Good Weekend magazines and Australian Cyclist, with the tagline "where will it take you?"

The series of ads featured some nice scenic images, and incorporated people which is a big plus. In one of the ads, one of the cyclists was actually smiling!
The tag line is brilliant, but wasted. "Where will it take you?" invites you on a flight of fancy journey, but the imagery is very mundane, typically a couple of cyclists on a bit of road somewhere. If a car brand had run this tagline, they would have thought about the emotional connection between where people are now and where they'd like to be, eg, from office drudgery to exploring the great outdoors, from boredom sitting in your car in a traffic jam to experiencing the freedom and enjoyment of movement, from watching le Tour on TV to participating on your own bike.

So what? Who cares? Why does it matter?

If we want to get more people to cycle, and especially if you want to encourage commuter cycling, it is very important that we understand the trigger factors. The "thing" that will make people think "I could ride to work". And it starts with bike brands, just like car brands, differentiating themselves from each other in the minds of consumers. For commuter bike brands, the trigger needs to be an emotional connection with current car commuters, or dissatisfied public transport users.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Petersham's Night of Nights

Quite a large turnout for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and her entourage of police at the Petersham RSL last night. Indeed, so many people arrived that the hall was filled to capacity and some were turned away.

Dr Ben McNeil, Senior research fellow at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, gave a brief and rather unscientific discussion of what climate change is (I still shudder at his explanation of sea levels rising due to "hot water expanding"), but nobody cared because nobody was really listening. Everyone just wanted to ask Penny Wong questions.

And eventually Penny Wong made her speech. As usual she actually told us very little, but hit all the right trigger words for the audience,eg, "balanced approach", "considering the options", "equity considerations", etc etc. But once again nobody cared, because people were only there to ask questions.

And then it arrived. Question time. 21 people out of a crowd of hundreds got the opportunity to ask a question. The Light Rail lobby was there to ask for Federal support to get the light rail (ie, tram) extended to the inner west where it might actually do some good. The controversial population control question got asked, but not really answered. The sensible question about why we are considering a system that has pretty much failed miserably all over the world is being introduced here was asked, and not really answered. The only real surprise of the evening was that a question got slipped in about petrol pricing and dear Penny pretty much confirmed that petrol would not be included in any Emissions Trading Scheme.

So, feeling pretty disappointed in the whole circus, we headed out and collided with cycling friends. And, ofcourse, the discussion gravitated to cycling infrastructure and advocacy. Given the total disillusionment of many cyclists in the area with Bicycle NSW, it has been suggested that the local BUGs join forces to form their own organisation to promote cycling. This is already happening in a small way, eg, The National Roads and Cyclists Association, with the tagline "helping cyclists". There is also a group of the same name on facebook that you can join. So the night wasn't a total waste of time afterall.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ban Ryan Bailey from Cycling!

We, as cyclists, expect motorists to sometimes get abusive if we are a bit slow and the driver is finding it all a bit too inconvenient.

What we don't expect is a dedicated cyclist to publicly state his frustration as a car driver at slower moving vehicles. And yet, Ryan Bailey, an Australian Olympic Cyclist, has done just that, and the timing of the article could not have been worse!

What's your pet road peeve? .... people driving at 20 kays under the speed limit. I had a Volvo driver doing that to me yesterday and it wasn't much fun."


I think Ryan Bailey should be banned from cycling on the road until he can maintain the speed limit on every road he rides on and should be compelled to attend a driver education session or two!

On the other hand, Green's MP Lee Rhiannon, seems to have the right idea:

"In response to the major cycling accident yesterday, Eric Roozendaal should be confirming the right of cyclists to share Sydney's roads and warning motorists against taking their road rage out on cyclists.

"Banishing cyclists from Sydney roads might make the Roads Minister's job easier, but it will do nothing to combat climate change, peak oil and rising petrol prices or obesity,"

The National Roads & Cyclists Association Mr. Odds, has taken the NRMA to task over its mixed messages in the media,

'... he found it quite distasteful that Mr Evans (NRMA) would use what appeared to be a deliberate and malicious road-rage incident on the part of a rogue driver as a platform to push the onus of care onto cylcists. "Evans doesn't get it," said Mr Odds. "All road users have a duty of care to each other. Aren't we supposed to share the road? Is he saying that motorists are not responsible for anyone's safety other than their own? Are injured and killed cyclists nothing more than collateral damage on the way to work in the morning?"'

And, ofcourse we expected some positive words of wisdom from the Cycling Promotion Fund,

"The Cycling Promotion Fund calls on all commuters to share the road and see each other as people - not 'cyclists' or motorists."

So where is Bicycle NSW's media release? I've got no idea, but they do have a small statetment on their homepage at the moment,

"We are outraged by the events at Mascot yesterday, and we are deeply concerned for the athletes who have been affected by this appalling incident. We strongly support the efforts of law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent of the law and we passionately believe that the road is there to share. We are upholding this principle in our dealings with Government."

Fine sentiments ofcourse, but where is the call to action on sharing the road amicably and safely?

Want to do something constructive?
Sign this petition
We, the undersigned, as members of the NRMA and/or customers of IAG insurance, will cancel or not renew our business with the NRMA or IAG if they continue to oppose cycling infrastructure.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Road Safety Logies for 2008

The 2008 Road Safety Logies are brought to you by the Daily Telegraph

The prize for the understatement of the year goes to NRMA's senior adviser on road safety, Anne Morphett:

"Australian drivers were not good at sharing the road"

The prize for setting the record straight goes to NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal:

"they (cyclists) have every legal right to be on the roads ... there's no excuse for road rage"

The prize for sending mixed messages to the motoring and cycling public, this year is to be shared by .....

Anne Morphett:
"If you break up large packs it would give an opportunity for cyclists to still continue with their training but it would give motorists an opportunity to pass them safely"

Translation: large packs of cyclists force motorists to break the law regarding safe overtaking, so by breaking up large packs into smaller packs you give the motorists a far better chance of killing some of those pesky cyclists as they try to force their cars in between the packs.

and Eric Roozendaal:
"while cycling packs had every right to use the road, they should try to avoid peak-hour traffic"

Translation: while cyclists unfortunately have every right to be on the road, we really don't want them there, so motorists should continue the good work by hitting as many as possible in peak hour.

2GB has a recording of "Jason" the car driver giving his version of events, predictably he is not too blame ... the cyclists ran into the back of him ofcourse, and he was too scared of the cyclists (still standing) to stay at the scene of the crime. So, as there is no real damage to his car, he can't see what all the fuss is about.