The city’s bike share program has a new advertiser: Coors Light.
Bike New Haven, a citywide program that launched in mid-February, allows for short-term bike rentals from 17 stations around town. The program put up at the end of last week a new advertisement at one of the eight-by-four ad panels that stand next to nearly every bike station.
The new advertisement, which stands outside of the bike station at Café Romeo at the intersection of Orange Street and Pearl Street in East Rock, is for Coors Light. It shows a picture of a can of Coors Light being opened with a voluminous splash of beer, all overlaid by a swooping red “C” and the text: “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer.”
The bike share program, which advocates tout as a healthy, alternative transit system for New Haveners who don’t want to take a car to work or to the grocery store, is funded primarily through advertisements, according to Bike New Haven Program Manager Carolyn Lusch.
Lusch said that the program’s business model is that one third of its revenue will come from citywide advertisers, a third from station-specific sponsorships, and a third from rider membership fees. The city is not responsible for covering any of the operating costs of the program.
Since the program’s inception, some New Haveners have criticized the program for launching with McDonald’s as its primary advertiser, wary of advertisements for fast food stationed outside public libraries and schools.
Lusch said that the new beer advertisement is currently only at the Pearl and Orange Street location. She said that P3GM, the company that runs the bike share program, “maintains a standard that any panel advertising alcohol be a reasonable distance from any school, college, university campus, house of worship, cemetery, youth center, day care center, playground, amusement park, hospital, medical clinic or substance abuse center.” ‘
She did not say what that reasonable distance would be, though she did note that only 10 percent of the planned 30 citywide stations fall meet this criteria (i.e. are too close to a school, youth center, etc.).
Lusch said that while the program’s contract with the city does prohibit Bike New Haven from posting tobacco and firearm advertisements at stations, alcohol advertisements are not prohibited.
Below is Lusch’s complete statement on behalf of Bike New Haven about the new advertising relationship with Coors Light:
These advertisements are selected based on demand. All advertising panels will be available for purchase, and any business interested in purchasing the ad space is welcome. We encourage all businesses to contact our management team at Capitol Outdoor if they are interested in pursuing the space. A percentage of the panels will also be used periodically to promote various New Haven initiatives, while another percentage belongs to the city to direct growth. Those interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
The panels which contain alcohol advertising are monitored by P3 Global Management, the managing partner of Bike New Haven and its advertising partner, Capitol Outdoor. P3GM maintains a standard that any panel advertising alcohol be a reasonable distance from any school, college, university campus, house of worship, cemetery, youth center, day care center, playground, amusement park, hospital, medical clinic or substance abuse center. Currently less than 10% of our planned 30 panels meet this criteria.
The revenue generated from the panels makes up a significant portion of the systems revenue stream. This model allows us to provide a public bike share system, at no cost to the city or tax payers. While it mainly funds operations, meaning cost of bikes, technology, mechanics and re-balancing, this revenue stream also allows us to provide discounted membership for students, seniors, and low income members of the community.