To arrest a steep decline in cycling some of North America’s biggest independent bike shops have joined together to push for a “Got Milk”-style advertising campaign. The promotion would aim to create a “rising tide for the whole industry to swim in,” said the website for the new group, the 20collective.
20.5 million bicycles were sold in 2000, in 2014 it was 18 million. Between 2000 and 2010 the number of children who ride bicycles declined more than 20 percent. Visits to bike shops dropped 17 percent between 2014 and 2012.
The solution, said 20collective, was to create an “industry advancement fund”. This would be a “centralized fund for a marketing campaign to promote and grow ridership participation.”
The bike shops involved include Bike World of Iowa; Bicycle Habitat of New York City; Zane’s Cycles of Connecticut; and Mike’s Bike Shop of New Brunswick, Canada.
Another, River City Bicycles of Portland, Oregon, is responsible for this newspaper advert from 2006 (although it was later withdrawn thanks to a humourless cease-and-desist letter from Pepisco, owner of the Quaker Oats brand):
The ad campaign would not focus on independent bicycle dealers but on cycling as a whole.
“Brick-and-mortar retailers, online retailers, distributors, big-box stores and cycling brands alike all have the same problem,” said a statement from the 20collective.
And that problem is participation, or lack thereof. 20collection aims to establish “one cohesive marketing effort for the ENTIRE cycling industry focused on increasing participation. Much like the dairy, beef, R.V., and fishing industries do for their own. They have each launched campaigns like “Go RVing”, and “Beef, it’s what's for dinner” investing in growing participation and awareness of their industry. We MUST do the same.”
The poster-child for industry competitors collaborating on generalised advertising is “Got Milk?”, the celebs-with-milky-moustaches campaign launched by the US dairy industry in 1993.
The 20collective is looking for other retailers and suppliers to join in.
“We will select an advertising company to represent the entire bicycle industry,” said the organisation’s website.
“Our competition is not each other as much as it is is specialty retail industries,” said 20collective. “We must grab the attention of our future customers if we all want to grow.”
According to industry consultant Jay Townley the 20Collective came about after a Shimano USA initiative lbringing together a core group of IBDs four times each year to chew the fat. However, the 20collective advertising concept is not a Shimano programme.