FreeBike Project | Shifting Brands into Gear

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Copenhagen is world renowned for its biking culture and has officially become the first Bike City in the World. It’s not a surprise then that the founders of a company that provides a smart solution to university students to rent a bike for free, happen to be Danish. Johan Bender and Kim Sanderhoff are the founders of FreeBike Project. Both are students at the University of Southern California and wanted to provide free bike access to students on campus.

Together, they came up with an innovative solution. FreeBike Project allows companies to pay for ad space on bicycles.  Because advertisers have limited access to campuses, having their advertisement on a bicycle becomes less intrusive than the typical flyer and newspaper advertising. It provides companies with a unique yet affordable way to reach their target market. This in turn provides free rental to students of the university.

In large campuses such as USC, it’s beneficial to students to have the ability to rent bikes for for free for many reasons. The walk can be pretty long from one class to another and having a bike prevents students from being late to their next class. Also, for most students that live off campus, it is much more convenient to rent out a bike than having to lug one in and out of their vehicles. Lastly, many students are on a budget and cannot afford to purchase a bike only to be used for a few years. Having anything free for college students is always a plus!

But the free bike rental for students and less expensive and innovative advertising solutions for companies doesn’t complete the founders’ vision. The founders wanted to create a company that makes a difference globally and impact the people who need the most help. Freebike Project has parnered up with a non-profit organization to help students in impoverished countries. It is their mission to promote social responsibility amongst the students they rent bikes out to and give them the power to help the less fortunate students around the world.

Below is an interview with the founders:

What is FreeBike Project?

FreeBike Project provides social responsible campus marketing. The project introduces a unique bike design that is specifically made for branding, enabling companies to build a special connection with students through an on-campus initiative.

How does the Project work?

By having paid sponsors, FreeBike Project will carefully select students interested in a FreeBike and will give them the opportunity to enjoy the bike for a whole year.

How does FreeBike Project help students in the 3rd world?

To add even more to the Free Movement, FreeBike Project has also partnered with “Bikes For the World” and has pledged to donate 1 bike to the third world for every 1 that is sponsored.  FreeBike Project takes its 1 for 1 program very seriously, as the founders have seen first-hand the struggle that students face in countries like the Philippines, where living in remote villages makes walking to school a truly burdensome feat.

Are bikes free for students?

Students pay a deposit of $130 to cover the cost of the bike in the event that it is lost or stolen (we have pledged to replace it for our sponsors). After enjoying the FreeBike, however, and returning it (hopefully in one piece), we will refund the student his/her deposit within 14 business days.

How do you join the FreeBike Project?

If you are a student you simply go to our website www.freebikeproject.com

Why is FreeBike Project a golden opportunity for advertisers?

College students are the present AND the future. Increasing brand awareness through grassroot, viral marketing on campuses by means of a bicycle is not only effective, but memorable. By combining aspects of “campus ambassadors” and billboard advertising, brands will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on students.

Is there anything else included in a FreeBike Campaign?

Our ultimate goal is to bring brands college awareness that they have never experienced before. We understand the complexities that come with brand management and have implemented a variety of campaign options for our clients. A few examples include: Text to participate functionality that can give students discounts, “FreeBike Photo Contest,” which gives a prize to the student with the most creative picture with his/her bike, and many more.

What’s in the future for FreeBike Project? They plan to expand to other universities nationwide as more and more companies and universities hear about their project. But, this innovative solution doesn’t have to stop at universities. It can very well be a program for cities that want to welcome and  create the same bicycle culture in Copenhagen.

To get FreeBike Project on your campus or you’d like to sponsor bicycles please visit their website.

Denise Walker

Denise Walker is a proud trojan earning a B.S in Business Administration from USC with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship. Denise loves boba, Science, Space, Time Travel, learning about new technology and startups, reading inspirational/business books, connecting with great people and salsa dancing!

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  • Surfrrm

    Cool concept! But, why would you want to invest in a less intrusive marketing platform if the goal of outdoor advertising is to be disruptive?

    • Johan Bender

      Good question Surfrrm. With intrusive marketing we refer to negative experience of someone invading your personal space – thereby connecting a negative experience with the brand.

      You probably avoid those street teams who hand out flyers, like the rest of us. 

      FreeBike Project takes a different approach, by having leveraging the students, who already have a connection to the brand, via a sponsorship of a dynamic billboard. 

      Studies have shown that purchase decisions are 90% based upon face – face discussion between your peers. 
      Therefor its more effective to empower your fan group to reach out to their peers – than try to be disruptive by forcing your message down someones throat.

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