Adapting Car-Share Ads to Market Bike-Share

Replace "car sharing" with "bike sharing"
Yes, the ad actually says, "No booty call shall go unanswered."

On a recent trip on my “other bike,” AKA the ‘L,’ I spotted two advertisements promoting Zipcar that could have easily been converted into advertisements for bike-share. Car-share and bike-share serve different purposes, but there’s also some overlap — car-share providers want to capture some trips that you could also make on a public bike. With Chicago’s Divvy bike-share system set to launch soon, let’s see whether we can adapt these Zipcar ads to the bike-share context.

The first ad, above, says, “No booty call shall go unanswered.” Too saucy for a public bike system? Maybe, but there’s no doubt Divvy bikes can help you with that (and it’s cheaper than renting a car). Bike-share would also give you a bit more flexibility than Zipcar’s hourly rates, since the trip on Divvy would be free in each direction as long as you can pedal there in 30 minutes or less.

Replace "car sharing" with "bike sharing"
Zipcar marketing trades on the fact that car ownership is a hassle.

The smaller text in the same advertisement says, “Hundreds of cars and vans across Chicago are available by the hour or day. Gas and insurance included.” This part would have to change to advertise bike-share. The Divvy version could say, “Thousands of bicycles across Chicago are available for unlimited 30 minute trips around town, and you don’t have to pay for gas or insurance.”

The second ad, which I saw behind the seats, says, “It’s like owning a car without all the sucky parts.” Ah yes, sometimes owning the vehicle, even if that vehicle is a low-cost bicycle, has sucky parts. For Divvy, I’d propose, “It’s like owning a bike without all the sucky parts, like flat tires, rusty chains, and stolen seats.”

Divvy will launch in June with 75 stations in downtown Chicago and River North. A day pass will cost $7, less than one hour of driving a Zipcar (and that doesn’t include the cost of parking). An annual Divvy membership will be $75.

Finally, it’s good to see that these Zipcar ads, unlike some of the company’s prior campaigns (below), don’t disparage people who ride bikes or take transit.

Zipcar's old ads disparaged biking and transit instead of owning a car.
  • If you were planning on spending the night, you’d rack up a tidy fee with Zipcar.

    I’d also wager that a good portion of “booty calls” happen when neither party ought to be driving.

  • There were many directions we could have taken that ad but they didn’t meet our family-friendly policy. :)

  • Jennifer

    That’s what she said!

  • Jennifer

    Wasn’t there one that went “Live in the city, flirt with the suburbs”? Just turn that one around.

  • Flirt with the suburbs? What are they offering that I can’t get with the city?

  • Jennifer

    If you were me, booty.

  • Have you seen their homepage? It’s something like “try out new neighborhoods.” Not very good advice for Chicago where trying out new, busy neighborhoods is probably not best done in a car :) but it would be a GREAT bike share ad. I hope that Divvy has better advertising than the CTA or Metra, for example.

  • That’s amusing. Maybe they mean neighborhoods that must be driven to, like those in the suburbs, which you should be flirting with (see Jennifer’s comment below).

  • Anonymous

    According to the American Lung Association, clean air.

    Of course, the many non-Cook County folks trudging their way in and out of Cook County on highways, like I-290, contribute to poor Cook County air quality without experiencing the consequence of living in their exhaust – one aspect of the external costs of their commuting preferences.

    The Illinois Department of Transportation argues that people in Cook County should bear even more of the external costs associated with commuting to and from suburbs. To facilitate improved car travel, and to enable thousands of cars more to use I-290- each day, IDOT is reconstructing the Circle Interchange and wants to construct an ill-fated and poorly justified add-a-lane, take-away-a-lane project between Mannheim and the Circle. More cars, more congestion, more poor air quality.

    Yeah, that’s what the burbs offer that the city doesn’t: The ability to dump their pollution on somebody else while maintaining their own comparatively clean air, or so ALA data indicates.

  • Guest

    Thank you Coolebra, for bringing up air quality, which is one of the most profound reasons that Chicago should not remain porous and accommodating to automobiles, with the redistribution of transportation spending toward more electric transit and bicycling infrastructure being the elegant solution.

  • Ryan Lakes

    Thank you Coolebra, for bringing up air quality, which is one of the most profound reasons that Chicago should not remain porous and accommodating to automobiles, with the redistribution of transportation spending toward more electric transit and bicycling infrastructure being the simple and long overdue solution.

  • Tiki bars.

  • When you retire from transportation writing, you should open up a tiki bar in Chicago. I’ll be an investor as long as I get half off drinks and you have good bike parking.

  • I happened to write about this very campaign the day before you! (I assume they’re the same ads in Chicago.)


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