Making the World Better for New York Cyclists—One Complaint at a Time:
A Website (mostly) of constructive bitching

My worst client: Advertising Bike Month for the NYC DoT, 1998.

I was hired by the Urban Mobility Unit of the New York City Department of Transportation in 1998 to create advertising for the city's Bike Month. It was the ugliest chapter in my 30+ year career in advertising.

Read my column in VeloNews about this. Laugh and be pissed off. Not to give away the article but, needless to say, I quit rather than capitulate to idiocy and have my name attached to mediocrity, and far worse.

I mistakenly thought the objective was to promote cycling and awareness among drivers of cyclists. I was wrong: all they wanted was that we should all just play nice together, or, as Rodney King eloquently said under quite different circumstances, "Can't we all just get along?" That wasn't nearly enough for me, as you'll read in my VeloNews piece. But if that was enough of a message for the DoT, I think my poster idea, below, communicated that in a damn interesting way. They didn't.

What they went with was some feckless, epicene cartoon character named Ziggy on a bicycle. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the situation facing cyclists in New York. Oh, the reason that feckless, epicene cartoon character was used? Luis Aragao, of the Urban Mobility Unit, a man lacking in good sense, good judgment, and good taste, knew the licensor of that cartoon character. That was enough. He knew the licensor! In ad-talk, the take-away from what was finally produced was: cycling issues in the city are silly and cute and the non-cycling public need not be schooled in the serious problems faced by cyclists—such trivial concerns as safety and mindless (and far worse) drivers. 

© 2010 Richard Rosenthal   All Rights Reserved