Are TfL’s cycling promotion campaigns worth the money?

From the Dutch government’s Bicycle Master Plan (1999):

The Dutch citizen knows what a bicycle is and how to use it. The promotion of bicycle use does not require billboards, but instead adequate, suitable facilities.

(via the ever-fiery Crap Cycling in Waltham Forest blog)

After questions to the Mayor from Richard Tracey AM, we learn that Transport for London spent £341,000 on a recent campaign to promote cycling including series of five YouTube videos and a cinema advertisement.

The film production costs were £224,400, including paying Big Brother presenter Dermot O’Leary and Edith Bowman (who she?) £5,000 each for a day’s filming – nice work if you can get it! TfL paid a further £141,000 to have the 90 second advert screened in more than 800 cinemas over a six week period in the late summer.

With impressive precision, TfL say that that 2,880,825 people saw the advert. But I wonder how many of them didn’t know what a bicycle is, or how to use it.

  • ubercurmudgeon

    Low-level marketing “professionals” are blind to the fact that when you ain’t selling pig swill there is no point rattling a stick in a bucket. High-level ones know that regardless of the substance, or lack thereof, of the message, getting your name and logo “out there” may help preserve some of your budget and, for their own ends, controlling what an organisation says is effectively the same as controlling what it does. The same sort of people are ruining the BBC.

  • Tom the Canadian

    A breath of fresh air to those of us living in the land of 5 litre pick-up trucks and Hummers. Being passed by a Lorrie with 50,000 lts. of petrol at 100 kph. is not for the faint of heart. Thank the Lord for small mercies and let Barclay’s spend the dough there, rather than on bonuses for hedge fund managers. Silly Canadians, eh?

  • http://blindbikebuilder.blogspot.com/ Craig

    Precision of the audience isn’t hard to do when you only screen at 800 cinemas for 6 weeks. You know exactly how many seats were sold. The trouble is this is an underestimation as some will be repeat visits and some will be small children. However, at info shot per head that is £8.45 which is terrible for such a limited audience. £8.45 is a free cycle lock for nearly 3 million cyclists. Or nearly 3000 Sheffield style cycle stands. Imagine if there were 3000 more places to actually park you bike. Especially, if one of those Met CCTV cameras was pointing at it.

  • matthew

    craig seems to have got his operands the wrong way round.

    £341,000 / 2,880,825 = 11.8p per person
    2,880,825/£341000 = expresses that the cost was (1/£1)8.45 per person.

    Bad luck Craig. Next time figure that if it costs £a to do something for b people, and b > a, then the cost is clearly going to be less than £1 per person, and that £8.45 is obviously wrong as the answer