So I like my cycling and in many respects it’s at the cutting edge of technological advances as the major players engage in an innovation arms race across every aspect of the humble bicycle, it’s also an industry and sport that (in this country at least) is growing rapidly and has a large global audience watching live coverage of the major races across the season. It has big commercial sponsors paying millions of pounds (at the top level) to sponsor teams, which has me pondering why oh why are cycling adverts so bad.
Anyone who watches Eurosport will be familiar with the Sidi advert that has been running pretty much every ad break all season and which is so bad I have wondered at times if it’s simply some form of Italian irony that I don’t understand. Now Sidi for those not in the know are a premium manufacturer of Italian cycling shoes – they are worn by the pros and anyone else with several hundred pounds to spend on their bike shoes, they have a fantastic brand and if you look at the feet of those who win the classics and the grand tours there’s a good chance they will be shod in Sidi’s. I don’t own a pair but hey I’d like to one day but if I ever buy a pair it won’t be down to their advertising. Now I don’t work in advertising or branding but if I did then the Sidi account must be a good one to have on your stable, so you line up two of Italy’s biggest cycling stars (Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali) who ride for one of Italy’s top teams (Liquigas-Cannondale) to make an advert for Sidi and you get the two stars to chop up a pair of the shoes, fry them and then serve them on a platter but suddenly they’ve made a pair of the shoes !!!!!!! what ? Don’t believe me then watch this :
Surely brand agencies, marketeers and advertisers can come up with something better than this ? However from what I’ve seen cycling adverts are staggeringly bad so it was with some interest that I heard of a new advert being done by Mario Cipollini for his new range of bike – the Bond. Now most sports, or indeed any field, have their mavericks, innovators and personalities but in cycling over the last twenty years Cipollini was the man, a sprinter that won 191 races including 42 stages of the Giro D’Italia and the world championships. He cultivated an image of flamboyance, controversy, arrogance and innovation perhaps most famously for the outrageously designed skin suits that he would often turn up in:-
So there was no way that Cipollini was going to do anything other than outrageousness for the advert for his own bikes as he hilariously takes off James Bond as you can see from the clip at the top of the piece. Again I won’t be buying one of his bikes based on the advert but it’s somewhat different to what Sidi approved.
So are there any good cycling adverts out there ? and if not time for you creative types to step up and start pitching I’d say.