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Bicycle branding: KLM Airlines takes off on DelhiByCycle's two wheelers

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 11, 2011
Fifty orange cycles, as part of the cycle tours in Delhi, are carrying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' brand message of 'Take care of tomorrow -- today'.

If you're in the capital city of Delhi and see a flurry of bright orange bicycles go by with brand messages, don't be surprised. This is a bicycle tour initiative called DelhiByCycle (DBC) and the messages are those of KLM Airlines.

The company, offering bicycle tours in Delhi since 2009, has now started offering advertising space to brands on its cycles, thus converting these into mobile media.

KLM Airlines is the company's maiden partner for advertising. The campaign began on August 1 and will go on until October, and has branded messages on all 50 cycles that DBC has on offer.

The bicycle branding is a joint effort of DBC and Gotcha! Impact Media, the company behind Cards4U, which offers free postcards available at coffee shops and youth outlets.

DelhiByCycle (DBC) is an initiative started by Dutchman Jack Leenaars in 2009. As a former South Asia correspondent for the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, he radically changed his profession from journalism into running the innovative concept of bicycle tours.

From a couple of participants on their first expeditions, the cycling tours have become popular on Delhi's streets. The tours offer the participants a unique street experience for three hours, with professional guides, as they ride on bright orange bicycles.

The company offers 50 bicycles and four different tours all over town, each tour accommodating a maximum of nine participants. Participants include people of all ages and social classes, including tourists and expats from all over the world, as well as more and more Delhiites who are keen to experience Delhi on two wheels. The tour company also has a fast growing corporate clientele.

Jack Leenaars, founder, DelhiByCycle, says, "As we are moving in a group of catchy bright orange bikes driven mostly by foreigners, visibility is very high and the group cannot pass unnoticed. We get huge attention on all our tours."

The number of eyeballs caught is high, especially in places like Old Delhi, India Gate Circle and Khan Market. The profile of the eyeballs varies from a 'chaiwallahs' in Old Delhi, to corporate professionals, and from people caught in traffic, to expats who are taking the tour.

The cycles go through locations all over Delhi, including Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazar, Spice Market, Civil Lines, Paharganj, Connaught Place, Rajpath, India Gate, Bengali Market, Nizamuddin area, Lodi area including Lodi Park, Khan Market and Golf Links.

The current KLM campaign seen on these cycles focusses on the CSR message, 'Take care of tomorrow - today'. This is in line with DBC's message of 'Go green, be responsible'. The company's design team has worked on the high quality plates and baskets that have been fitted onto the cycles.

DBC informs that prices vary according to the time frame of advertising, as well as the ad space bought. While the KLM project is a pilot one, after these initial three months, the rate of advertising will be defined. "The cost per eyeball ratio will be very good considering it is direct advertising, with a wide reach and is an innovative space," adds Leenaars.

Will this bicycle branding work as 'wheels of fortune' for brands in the times to come? We'll wait and watch.

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