It’s hard to maintain customer loyalty today with such a fragmented media environment. Yahoo!, despite its years of success, was facing just such a challenge. To reinvigorate the brand and create deep, engaging and memorable experiences for Yahoo! users, the portal created Purple Pedals.
As one component of its “Start Wearing Purple” campaign, the Purple Pedals program took bicycles and outfitted them with the Internet, GPS, geo-tagging and automatic photography. They then gave 20 bikes to 14 permanent riders and 1,000 temporary riders across eight countries — and told them to ride them.
As they rode, the solar-powered camera automatically snapped a picture every 60 seconds, ultimately uploading more than 62,000 pictures to Yahoo!’s Flickr. The effort created a hybrid social community between the offline and online worlds. Purple Pedals bikes generated viral buzz among broadcast media, tech sites, editorial tech blogs, and sites covering photography, GPS, gadgets, gizmos and environmental concerns.
Top creative directors and other influencers road them into 2008 Advertising Week and Pop!Tech. Bloggers including BoingBoing’s Mark Fraunfelder and LifeHacker’s Gian Trapani chronicled their lives from their bikes. Open-source software also allowed others to add their own bike to the fleet at uncommonprojects.com. One politically inspired rider in New York City used his bike to geographically map out the letters O-B-A-M-A.Yahoo! also conducted a “Win a Purple Pedal” promotion to give consumers an opportunity to win a Purple Pedal photographing bike and join the effort.
Overall, more than 50 bloggers covered the event. There were more than 2 million video placements of biking footage and more than 25,000 Purple Pedal videos were viewed on Yahoo! Video.