Orange Theory Fitness Responds to Criticism That Its Ad Campaign Exploits Memorials to Dead Cyclists

Comments

1
It's kinda gross.
2
Fire up the outrage machine ladies!
3
Tone-deaf
4
It shouldn't spark outrage, just a raised eyebrow. This and the Jager ad--they're in bad taste and the businesses making these mistakes deserve avoidance, if not a boycott.
5
I spotted the bike on Pike while riding my bike to work the other day. I thought, "weird" and promptly forgot about it. But now I know that it's an ad for a gym I give no fucks about. That's good advertising!
6
Massively ill-conceived.
7
Wow, that's insensitive.
8
So that's what these orange bikes are about?
Marketing fail.
9
Yeah, this is really tasteless.
10
Saw a dude promoting the gym in a little stand on Broadway. When I asked about the bikes he got nervous and pretended not to know what I was talking about.
11
The fuck is wrong with companies trying to get those sweet sweet "cap hill" $$$s??? Orange Gym should just stick with their regular shtick and blanket the area with dudes in Orange-man suits.
12
Stupid. Pretty much what to expect from some place headquartered in Florida.
13
"We have been trying to partner with the white bike campaign in the past..."

Because gyms and bike fatalities go together?
14
"We are not trying to offend anybody at all," is a smarmy avoidance of culpability. It's like telling someone, "I'm sorry YOU got YOUR feelings hurt."
15
The fact that everybody involved in this was too goddamn stupid to foresee the inevitable backlash is funny. The campaign itself is just awful.
16
"Trying to partner with the white bike campaign"

That is some grade-A middle management bullshit
17
Also... Are they all BMX bikes? Because that's just odd. I don't have any idea if using road bikes or even stationary spin cycles(!?) would make any more sense, but BMX are very rarely associated with anything fitness oriented.
18
They should try an Oso-related ad campaign while they're at it.
19
It makes no sense. The marketing campaign never mentions the name of the product or where to get it, and looks far too much like a completely different campaign with which it is not affiliated in any way. There's no name recognition to link to, and the fact that the company admits the resemblance to the ghost-bike campaign (unsuccessfully, from the sound of it) suggests a hell of a lot of insensitivity on the gym's part.
20
True, @17. Are BMX bikes associated with anything that people on Capital Hill are into? Pretty sure it would be a negative connotation, if anything...
21
This is in very bad taste.
22
i'm guessing that these kid bikes are cheapest to come by and painting them orange and leaving them on bike racks is the easiest way to be sure they would stay there a while. but you don't use a bmx bike to work out in a gym. epic fail.
23
@18: Yes! And maybe they should do a Crimea tie-in.
24
A pair of bolt cutters and a can of turpentine could result in some donations to Bike Works. I'm sure some kids would be more than happy with a few orange spots on a refurbished bike.
25
So, they're advertising by chaining up ugly crap all over our city?
26
So glad to finally have this mystery resolved. I thought the orange might have been just a different type of signifier--"A bicyclist was unnecessarily injured here"--or something. Consequently, every time I saw one, I felt perplexed and just a little bit sad. Neither of those feelings makes me want to rush off to the gym. Bad strategy all around.
27


I believe the orange bikes around town are very clever. It is not a failed campaign. Anyone can put whatever they like at a graveside memorial. The discussion of littering the side of the road with a graveside memorial is a totally different issue. Just because they are using a white bike vs. an orange bike means nothing. People use different color ribbons to support their causes such as Relay for Life, American Heart Association, war vets etc. That is only one sample. There are just too many negative people commenting here and maybe they should get out their frustrations at the Orange Theory Gym. Good grief, get a life.
28
I wish I could afford to buy a bunch of headstones to paint orange and leave outside this asshole gym.
29
To be fair, most of us walking by probably saw the orange bikes and went: "Oh look, an Art." And that was all.
30
As a bike rider, I'm more pissed that they're *cluttering public bike parking*.
What if a car lot spray-painted a bunch of clunkers & left them parked in viable parking spots?
31
Other cities such as Kansas City do use orange bikes to denote where a biker was injured. I was under the impression that's what was going on here. Glad to know it isn't. Though the gym ad campaign is supremely tacky.
32
Someone should paint these bikes white.
33
@16 is right. Do they have ANY concept of what the ghost bikes represent?
"trying to partner with the white bike campaign" is BS, they're trying to cover their ass. Who did they talk to, some guy at a memorial seriously said 'great idea, but why don't you make it bright & garish'?!?

@24 I think the spray paint might render them useless, or at the least a total pain-in-the-ass to fix up. Thanks Orange for destroying a usable fitness machine in the name of fitness.
34
@13 pretty much nailed it. "We have been trying to partner with the white bike campaign in the past..." is probably the most revolting sentiment in the entire story. I can't imagine why the white bike campaign wouldn't want to be associated with the "Orange Theory Fitness gym". Tasteless.
35
Does anyone remember a few years back when some company in Seattle locked bike wheels to bike racks? There was a tag attached to the wheel that promoted whatever company it was, but at a glance many people thought it was just an abandoned/stripped bike. What year was that? What company was that? My google-fu is failing me.

In any case, orange bikes were also used as a marketing tactic in NYC in 2008 (by DKNY), resulting in a similar backlash:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6KmkEZQ…

36
#30 nailed it.

Bicycle parking is a public good provided by public dollars. Regardless of what it is, private enterprise shouldn't be allowed to appropriate it for advertising themselves.
37
It's back in front of Stranger HQ on E Pine as of 12:30.
38
This could also be read as a threat -- come exercise inside at our expensive gym because if you bicycle outside you could end up memorialized as a ghost bike.
39
I believe the orange bikes around town are very clever. It is not a failed campaign. Anyone can put whatever they like at a graveside memorial. The discussion of littering the side of the road with a graveside memorial is a totally different issue. Just because they are using a white bike vs. an orange bike means nothing. People use different color ribbons to support their causes such as Relay for Life, American Heart Association, war vets etc. That is only one sample. There are just too many negative people commenting here and maybe they should get out their frustrations at the Orange Theory Gym. Good grief, get a life.
40
@39, you do realize they're not graveside memorials, right? It's nothing like the various ribbon campaigns, each of which directly relates to a cause. The sole cause here is marketing. A more comparable analogy would be a ribbon campaign for OfficeMax Awareness.

It's tacky.
41
Poor choice. I will dislike this gym more than I dislike gyms in general. I may even steal one of their bikes, I need one for Burning Man.
42
The orange bikes are just more visual clutter courtesy of corporate advertising.

But the ghost bikes? This country has gone a bit memorial crazy. Like the car crash roadside memorials of stuffed animals and crosses, the ghost bikes are macabre and pathetic.

And aren't ghost bikes something of a disincentive for cycling? When I pass one I think, "Glad I'm surrounded by a ton of Detroit steel."
43
This company cannot claim they weren't aware of ghost bikes. I and many of my friends contacted to alert them to how tasteless their campaign was and that we were offended. They immediately apologized and claimed they knew nothing of the memorials and promised to take them down. They lied. They suck.
44
This company cannot claim they weren't aware of ghost bikes. I and many of my friends contacted them and alerted them of their faux pas over six months ago. They immediately apologized, claimed they knew nothing of the memorials, and promised to take them down. They lied. They suck.
45
Roadside memorials are macabre and pathetic because deadly accidents are macabre and pathetic, the whole point is to remind us all to pay attention and be careful. Why any business would want to associate themselves with the untimely death of innocent people is a real mystery to me. Not all attention is good attention. I like @28's idea...I bet costume and display has some styrofoam grave markers in their back room...
46
Why would they "partner" with something that has nothing to do with them? Also, I made a formal complaint last year and someone by the name of Micah emailed me back apologizing and promised me that all of the bikes would be removed asap. Instead of them being removed in a timely manner, more started popping up in other neighborhoods. And just now when I made a comment on their FB page in regards to the 2 bikes being chained to their front door, they quickly deleted it. They don't care about how the community feels about their marketing tactics and they have no plans to stop doing this anytime soon. Maybe it's time to get the Seattle Police Dept. involved since they are littering their non functional bikes all over town.
47
Further developments. Someone chained their orange bikes to the business door yesterday. The employees are embarrassed about the campaign, corporate office won't budge, and there are new orange bikes being chained to public bike racks (right not on Broadway between Mercer and Roy) A flame war is happening on the FB page and they are taking comments down as fast as they go up. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Orangethe…
48
i started a "blue bike project" in fort lauderdale back in 1998-1999...it's still going strong. the fact that Orange Theory Fit'n'Ass is based in Fort Lauderdale make me go hmmmmm.



PS. the white bikes started in 2003......



give Orange Theory Fit 'n' Ass a break!



blame me bitches!!!!!
49
okay, so in 1998-1999 i started a
blue bike project in fort lauderdale, florida….
the white ghost bikes were started in 2003…..
in the article it reads that "orange theory fit'n'ass is housed in fort lauderdale, florida…
therefor give orange theory a break!!!
nothing's new everything's been done
50
Yep, hate to say this kids.....but the gentleman above is correct. Blue bikes were all around Fort Lauderdale as a public art project since 1998. Love 'em or hate 'em, they definitely got talked about when blue bikes of all sizes began showing up. They are still there to this day, and it always make me smile when I see one, since the originator is a long time creative resident in our community. While everyone is offended about Orange Theory disrespecting the ghost bike project, I've never heard of it down in this area. When orange theory started the orange bikes, it was most likely as a result of what was seen all around our city.....so I'm thinking if anyone would be offended it would be our local artist. And based on the comments from him above, it doesn't appear that he'll lose much sleep over it.





So, one way or the other, now we've all been educated. We've got blue bikes, white bikes, and now orange bikes.





I'm willing to bet that there are probably some red bikes and maybe even some green ones we don't know about in the world.
51
Yep, hate to say this kids.....but the gentleman above is correct. Blue bikes were all around Fort Lauderdale as a public art project since 1998. Love 'em or hate 'em, they definitely got talked about when blue bikes of all sizes began showing up. They are still there to this day, and it always make me smile when I see one, since the originator is a long time creative resident in our community. While everyone is offended about Orange Theory disrespecting the ghost bike project, I've never heard of it down in this area. When orange theory started the orange bikes, it was most likely as a result of what was seen all around our city.....so I'm thinking if anyone would be offended it would be our local artist. And based on the comments from him above, it doesn't appear that he'll lose much sleep over it.



So, one way or the other, now we've all been educated. We've got blue bikes, white bikes, and now orange bikes.



I'm willing to bet that there are probably some red bikes and maybe even some green ones we don't know about in the world.
52
Orange Theory is doing this promo stunt in Madison WI as late as this week. Evidently their model is to remove the bikes if people complain, because that's what's reported to be happening there.