Bicycle made for two: free hire scheme turns cyclists into advertisers
Buzzbike’s founders want to disrupt urban cycling by turning bike riders into tech-enabled mobile brand platforms. So will they face any bumps in the road?
Friday 8 July 2016 07.15 BST
In February last year, London’s cycling scheme got a new sponsor. Boris bikes, as they are colloquially known, were repainted from the blue of Barclays to the red of Santander as part of a major seven-year partnership between Transport for London and the Spanish bank. Valued at between £6m and £7m per year, it is an increase on the previous sponsorship deal. For Tom Hares and Andy Nunn, the founders of Buzzbike, it is evidence of an untapped demand for two-wheeled sponsorship solutions.
This pre-launch startup is an advertising platform with a twist, offering London cyclists a free bike, secure lock, insurance and servicing in exchange for accepting that their daily commute will double as a mobile advertisement.
The Buzzbike itself is an adapted Monza model made by Cooper – an unmodified version retails at about £700 and with the additional goodies, including a smartphone app, the investment in each rider is substantial.
But the founders believe they can turn a profit by going beyond the standard words and pictures format of display advertising. Each bike is digitally-enabled and can push messages and offers to passersby.