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Make way for Bikevertising: Amsterdam's RedStarMedia offers students in 22 university cities in The Netherlands gratis bicycles, plastered with ads. Advertisers will pick up the annual EUR 600 tab per bike. A real win-win.

We spoke about carvertising in previous editions, and mused about the eco-friendly opportunity of handing out free bikes, sponsored by advertisers. Amsterdam-based RedStarMedia took the entrepreneurial leap and is now doing just that: their ‘Ik Fiets Gratis’ (‘I Cycle for Free’) venture offers students in 22 university cities in The Netherlands gratis bicycles. Not surprisingly, more than 4,000 students have already signed up. Advertisers, who will pick up annual EUR 600 (USD 715/GBP 413) tab per bike, will be able to splash their message on a 25cm triangular billboard, or on fenders and mudguards. Bikes (sporting extra thick tires and multiple locks) will get a second life on the streets of developing nations after a year. RedStarMedia expects to hand out the first free bikes this month.


Traditional advertising is a mess. Alternative advertising models like Ik Fiets Gratis cleverly turn citizens into advertising vehicles, while offering a true, non-gimmicky win-win situation. Why not expand the model by actually paying existing bike owners, enticing them to become advertisers as well? Sure, there are risks (for example, how to prevent billboards to be removed or obscured by owners?). But at least it’s less boring than, oh, TV commercials or newspaper ads.


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