Check out this report of a new branding campaign by Bikes Belong called People for Bikes. The designs all look happy and unhipsterish, which Suzanne Labarre at Co.Design thinks is a good thing. I agree. But the photo below, promoting bicycle commuting and Bike to Work Week, goes off the rails.
OK, I get it that this is an attempt at whimsy. But ya gotta wonder about an ad agency that sooooo misunderstands the intended audience. It is not the case that women are going to find getting dirty on a bicycle cute. It is not the case that people are going to choose bicycles over cars if riding bicycles makes their lives more difficult.
This image is also counter-factual. One does not have to get dirty or wet riding a bicycle in work clothes. Just check out any photograph at Copenhagen Cycle Chic. If one rides a proper bicycle (i.e. with a chain guard and fenders) one is not likely to suffer the indignity pictured above — an indignity that absolutely will keep average people — average women — from commuting on a bicycle.
You want women riding bicycles to work? Show them this photo:
(Published by permission of Copenhagen Cycle Chic)
What the offending image represents is designers getting a little too cute while understanding a bit too little about the kinds of things that make people not want to ride bicycles.
Thankfully there’s plenty of time before the 2011 Bike to Work Week to kill this idea and dream up something useful.