The following is a guest blog post by Katy Gannon, a graphics production manager at the Chicago marketing agency Upshot. Last year, Upshot claimed first place in its category in the Bike Commuter Challenge.
Upshotters like to bike. Actually, that’s an understatement. We love biking to work and we have whipped up a storm of interest at our office in the annual Bike Commuter Challenge.
A mere 3 years ago, more and more bikes—from road bikes to hybrids to cruisers—made their way into the offices of Upshot.
Upshot realized the trend and, in an effort to encourage and protect valued employees, invited Active Transportation Alliance over to chat about bike safety in the city.
During the visit, the Active Trans representative mentioned its annual Bike Commuter Challenge held each June. Since Upshotters are always up for a dose of healthy competition, our ears perked up.
So, 2010 marked Upshot’s first Bike to Work Week challenge and, shockingly, we came out on top in our category!
In 2011, we got bumped to a larger category, which naturally fueled our competitive fire. Being the creative marketing agency that we are, Upshotters decided to craft a full-blown Bike Commuter Challenge office campaign around the event and employee participation. That’s when Upshot Bike Friends was born.
Logos, posters, pamphlets, maps, bike pumps and tools littered our new office bike shop. We let everyone know that support was available: “Got a flat or need some bike maintenance before the ride home? Head to the office bike shop.”
The fun and fun(ction) didn’t stop there. Participants received custom Upshot Bike Friends shirts, spoke cards and goodie bags filled with fruit, baked goods and a desk ornament (we love desk ornaments).
Again, to promote safety, Upshot asked Active Trans to come back, give a bike safety refresher and inspect employee bikes for potential hazards. Then to officially kick things off Upshot style, our monthly happy hour—dubbed Schbooze—was dedicated to the unveiling of the red lowrider office cruiser and it gave participants a venue to display their own bikes.
Needless to say, participation doubled. (We’re damn good marketers, even when we target ourselves!)
We’re raising the bar in 2012. A t-shirt design competition has come and gone, getting Upshotters prepped and excited for the event. You’ll see the winning design displayed all around the city during the mornings and evenings while Upshotters commute.
A local bike store adopted our enthusiasm and donated bike supplies and store coupons to raffle away. And, of course, each participant receives a new desk ornament (I told you we love desk flair).
Facebook and Twitter also play a key role in keeping Upshotters connected to meet up and ride in to work together. Feel free to join and follow the Upshot Bike Friends community.
The photo above shows Upshot employees passing out goodie bags for the Bike Commuter Challenge participants.
Upshot is an independent Chicago-based marketing agency that focuses on consumer, shopper and business-to-business marketing. Clients include Procter & Gamble, Crown Imports, Hilton Worldwide, Subway Restaurants, New Balance and Kraft Foods.