One of the nine tactics of creating Surprise (oft-mentioned here and obviously fleshed out in my even more oft-mentioned Pow! book) is to "Take Things Out Of Context." Even the slightest deviation from the norm is amplified out of proportion, resulting in buzz, word-of-mouth and, of done really well, increased sales. Perfect, and I mean PERFECT, example:
Check out the reaction of the "real" cyclist on the left. The stunt served to promote Funktion Personal Training, and not only turned heads and stopped traffic, but became the golden child of the marketing press for a few days. The following is from of Marketing Magazine, with commentary in red itals from yours truly:
A stationary bike appeared to break free from the gym and into the streets of Vancouver yesterday, part of a stunt put together by Rethink for Funktion Personal Training, a local fitness company that likes to do exercise differently. (You can't promote the fact you're different if you do the same damn thing as everyone else.)
“Escape your boring gym” (Two key Pow! terms: escape and boring) was the message on the side of the “stationary” bike meant to capture the attention of passersby as it moved around the city.
Mark Krysko, co-owner of Funktion, said his customers range between 20 and 50 and are tired of gym workouts. They’re looking for a bit more excitement–everything from boot camp in the park to running behind a parachute. (And as different as these are, they wouldn't have garnered the same attention had they been done in public; the important thing here is the bike, the juxtopisiton of the familiar in an unfamiliar setting.)
“We wanted to think about what separates us from our competitors and the one thing is we are different,” said Krysko. (There's the all-important "different" again.) “Our workouts are dynamic and fun.”
The street-legal stationary bike will tour Vancouver all summer. (Be careful, guys. Better start thinking up the next one before people tire of seeing this one. Remember that Surprise is a flow, not a one-off.)