Brixton Cycles – Weird & Wonderful Winter Bike Campaign
Updated: Jan 20
Winter can be a quiet time for bike shops, with many cyclists hanging up their helmets once the weather takes a turn for the worse. To keep their customers riding during the winter, Brixton Cycles tasked us with creating a piece of content that would provoke interest and drive attention towards the shop, their product offering and their services at a time when interest is low.
The option to go custom is one of the key advantages of shopping at an independent bike shop over an online retail giant. However, what springs to mind when you think of a custom bike? Expensive carbon frames, top-end componentry and big budgets? We see enough top-of-the-range bling plastered across social media, and Brixton Cycles’ down-to-earth character lends itself to unusual-yet-utilitarian bike builds, so we wanted to take a different approach.
Historically, Brixton Cycles’ customers have demonstrated an interest in bike builds born from thinking outside of the box, with the ‘Brixton Builds’ and ‘Crew’s Commuters’ series being amongst the most viewed on their blog. With that, we wanted to hit those same parameters but also create something unique that their customers haven’t seen before.
Nothing gets the cogs turning more than the prospect of an interesting custom bike build – especially a winter bike! These are particularly polarising as everyone’s idea of the perfect winter steed is different depending on the kind of rider and where they ride. We wanted to create a collection of weird and wonderful winter bike builds, sparking the interest of hardened winter riders and inspiring those who might usually hit pause on their cycling at this time of year, hence the title of ‘The Weird & Wonderful: Winter Bike’!
1 – Writing The Blog
With a solid concept, it was time to get pen to paper. We wanted the article to feature 3 unique winter bikes, each leaning towards a different discipline while capturing the essence of Brixton Cycles and demonstrating what they do best. After some careful consideration, we settled on: the Mullet Roadie (Salsa Journeyer), the Flat Bar Gravel Commuter (Surly Straggler) and the Urban MTB (Surly Bridge Club), each with their own unique specification.
This eclectic mix of winter bikes met our core requirements: unusual yet utilitarian, differing disciplines, slightly polarising and downright cool!
With a topic that lends itself to nerdy details but a target audience of both experienced and newer riders, the art of writing an article like this is finding the balance between in-depth details and digestibility so that neither reader feels alienated. Brixton Cycles’ friendly, casual and down-to-earth tone of voice made this task easier to achieve – combining an easy-to-read article with sprinkles of technical details with fun quips allows the article to provide genuine insight and valuable information without sounding like a spec sheet.
Accompanying slightly more nuanced and technical details with engaging images that can provide a visual reference will aid in understanding, allowing slightly more technical text to be understood by all. Once we were happy with the writing, it was time to create those visuals!
2 – Creating The Artwork
We could write the most eloquent and insightful article in the world, but if there aren’t any engaging visuals within it and promoting it, no one is going to read it! That’s why we enlisted the wonderfully talented Paige Thomas (@theillustrationpaige) to create supporting artwork that could be used within the article, on social media, in the monthly email newsletter and on the website homepage.
We sent her the brief, along with a detailed mood board of the bikes and desired art style:
After some discussion and a couple of tweaks, we were super happy with the artwork! The art-style is a perfect match for the Brixton Cycles brand, the colours are bright and engaging without being in your face
Armed with the assets, we also created animations to be used across social media that are engaging and shareable, making Brixton Cycles stand out and garner as much attention as possible! These illustrations can also be utilised in future articles and necessary artwork relating to either one of the two key brands stocked at Brixton Cycles (Surly & Salsa).
Once released into the wild, the article was well-received and proved to be an instant success. Each animation was shared across Brixton Cycles’ social media in the following weeks, as well as reposted by Surly Bikes UK, Lyon Distribution and published in bikepacking.com's Weekly Debrief #47. The posts have garnered over 15,000 views and reached more than 62,000 people to date, and ‘The Weird & Wonderful: Winter Bike’ is now one of the top-performing pieces of content on the Brixton Cycles blog.
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