Publicis Toronto urges people to get back in the saddle for Pride Month

Who: Bike Share Toronto, with Publicis Toronto for strategy and creative.

What: “Happy Ride to Pride,” a Pride-focused campaign urging Torontonians to use Bike Share Toronto to travel to and from this month’s Pride events, including the annual Pride Parade taking place this Sunday.

When & Where: The campaign is running now, using a combination of social media, posters at Bike Share Toronto’s 680 stations, and limited-edition bike seat covers placed on some of the bikes in its fleet of 7,100.

Why: Bike Share Toronto recorded a record 4.6 million trips totalling 15.2 million kilometres last year, and says that Torontonians have embraced its service as “a vital part of the city’s transportation ecosystem.” This is a play to get more people to use the service during one of the city’s key events.

As any Torontonian can tell you, the city has basically become a year-round parking lot, ranking seventh in the world in total congestion last year. It also earned a dubious first-place ranking among Canadian cities, and third among North American cities.

That congestion can make getting to large-scale public events like the Pride Parade extraordinarily difficult, but while mayoral candidates like Mark Saunders have vowed to abolish the city’s bike lanes, studies have shown that biking can actually be a faster way to get around major cities.

How: The campaign uses brightly coloured saddle shapes featuring a series of 2SLGBTQ+ referencing headlines, such as “Getting around is easy when you’re bike curious,” “Real queens don’t let traffic drag them down,” and “Bumper to bumper traffic belongs on the dance floor” to encourage people to use the service.

Placed on random Bike Share Toronto bikes, as well as “valet stations” around Pride events, the removable seat covers feature the message “Straddle my saddle” and feature a special hashtag, #RideTOPride, in order to encourage social sharing.

And we quote: “We wanted our campaign to include tons of colour, a bit of sass, and a whole lot of fun; that is the essence of Pride after all. Targeting both dedicated BST members, and those who are simply bike curious, we aim to create a happy ride for Bike Share users bound for Pride.” — Tina Vahn, creative director, Publicis Toronto

Chris Powell