View Full Version : Should Wells Fargo be a primary sponsor of Capital Bikeshare? Why not?

09-24-2011, 03:51 PM
I've noticed (as have others) how similar Wells Fargo's color scheme is to that of CaBi: red background and yellow lettering. Their logo (a horse-drawn stagecoach) depicts a wheeled vehicle that is not powered by a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine.

With the takeover of Wachovia, they have greatly expanded their presence in the DC area. They have the money and size to be a primary sponsor of CaBi. London's bikeshare system is sponsored by a financial institution (Barclays). Recent reports have indicated that CaBi is exploring a similar sponsorship deal.

Wells Fargo would be a good choice, for CaBi and for Wells Fargo. CaBi wouldn't have to waste money on repainting the bikes if Wells Fargo sponsored the system. They may have to add the company name, but they could keep the distinctive red and yellow color scheme. Wells Fargo would get significant promotional value from the deal. They are new to the area. A CaBi deal would help establish their presence in the DC market in a big way.

Someone mentioned that McDonald's would be a good match, because they also have a red and yellow color scheme. But they use white lettering, not yellow. And McDonald's is associated with unhealthy diets and weight problems among its customer base. Not the association that CaBi would want to have. Part of the appeal of CaBi is that it helps to get people out of their cars and homes, doing something active and healthy.

09-24-2011, 05:06 PM
I think it would actually be good for the sponsor to paint the bikes some other color. Now that people are used to seeing red bikes, many are unlikely to notice the addition of the sponsor's name without a change in the color scheme.

I do like the red bikes, though.

09-24-2011, 06:11 PM
They just added an ad to the fender area. I'd guess other potential sponsors with a color preference could do the same, leaving the bikes in their nice red and yellow.


09-24-2011, 09:56 PM
From what I've seen in Europe with the same bikes/setup, the sponsors get fender and kiosk ads only. I really don't think the CaBi bikes should lose their distinctive (and easily seen) colors. Furthermore, promoting the CaBi brand is still very important (just the term "bikeshare" will get people thinking "hmmm" when they see it).

Personally I'd prefer that CaBi remained ad free from a simple visual perspective. We are so bombarded with media 24/7 it is nice to see something so restrained (and innocent?).

09-25-2011, 11:07 AM
A primary sponsor would mean a massive expansion of the system. The sponsor's ads on the Minnesota and London bikes are understated and simple. I wouldn't mind seeing something like that on CaBi.

If a major company agreed to a deal similar to the Barclays deal in London, CaBi could nearly double the size of the system immediately (though implementation would be delayed so that the bikes and stations could be manufactured and delivered, and station locations could be determined). Central DC would be well covered by that point. Many of the new stations could be used to expand into new neighborhoods or to fill in areas with only spotty coverage. CaBi could move into Alexandria, Shirlington, Bethesda, Silver Spring and other suburbs much sooner.

09-26-2011, 10:18 AM
There is a downside to relying on a primary sponsor as the French have found out the hard way (Paris's sponsor is trying very hard to back out of the deal) - most notably what happens if/when the sponsor backs out? There is no guarantee that another company will step in to ensure continuity of service then the govt is left holding the bag.

09-26-2011, 03:31 PM
If CaBi signs off on such a deal, they could front-load a multi-year contract. Then they could use the early money to expand the system. Installation and bike purchases cost more money than maintenance (although bikes do need to be replaced on a regular schedule). I think London has a 5-yr deal with Barclays. Many pro sports arenas have 10-yr or 20-yr sponsorship deals for naming rights. That would be the way to go.

Hopefully the rapid expansion of the system brings in a lot of revenue from new members (annual, monthly, weekly and daily) so that the sponsorship money would be less vital in future years.

Even if a system-wide sponsor didn't renew, CaBi could still pursue multiple smaller deals. Companies could go for less expensive deals to sponsor individual stations or groups of stations (such as "all Crystal City stations" or "all downtown DC stations"). That poses less risk for sponsoring companies. CaBi has also started up small-scale deals with groups like Kimpton Hotels (or it could be a different hotel group) for hotel guests to receive complementary CaBi weekly memberships. Groups like the Crystal City BID and the Potomac Yards group have already contributed to the system in return for having stations installed in their neighborhoods.

I agree that CaBi shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket, but they seem to be smart about pursuing many different sources of funding.

Tim Kelley
09-26-2011, 03:35 PM
Here are a few details about what it would take to sponsor Arlington's part of the program:


09-26-2011, 03:40 PM
If I ever win the lottery, I might sign up!

I don't understand the part about advertising restrictions in the District though. There are plenty of ads on buses, taxis, trucks, bus stops, billboards, Metro stations, and even people who carry or wear portable billboards and signs. Are people really going to notice whether CaBi stations have ads too? Both public and private organizations display ads. What restrictions are they talking about?