Kids are increasingly being transported on the back of their parents’ car instead of riding a bike. Many Danish municipalities wish to change this development. One way is to combine new technology with an old story!
By Marianne Weinreich, VEKSØ & Morten Riisgaard-Dam, Aros Kommunikation
The cycle campaign ”Around the World in 80 Days” targets 12-13 year-old school students and, to go straight to the point, the idea is for the students to compete together as a class to see whether they can ‘cycle’ around the world in 80 days.
The students take turns at cycling with a GPS, which registers the number of cycled kilometres. Next, they upload their results on the campaign website. For every kilometre they cycle, the circumnavigator, Dr. Glob, moves one corresponding kilometre on his trip around the world on his flying Mondovelo. On the campaign website, the students can keep track of Dr. Glob’s progress and of how far the other classes have cycled. The challenge is: Can the classes circumnavigate the globe in 80 days – or in other words, cycle 40.000 km in 80 days?
Every time the students pass one of the sprint cities along the route, Dr. Glob sends them a postcard with funny stories from the city he is visiting. This way the students learn about different places in the world, and the teachers can integrate it in class if they want.
Mette Olsen, who is class teacher for the winning class in Elsinore in 2011, is very enthusiastic about the campaign and believes that the use of GPS-technology has a large part in motivating the students and getting the support of the parents.
“We haven’t cycled during school hours, but the students and their parents could keep track of the results on the class smartboard during the entire campaign. The students have cycled together on many trips – especially long trips in the weekends, so they have also benefitted a lot on a social level. At the same time, the parents have really supported them by accompanying them on the long trips,” says the class teacher, who is herself a born competitor and has encouraged the students to continue cycling for Dr. Glob for the entire campaign.
Competition powers up the pedals
The competitive element and the idea that all the participants are assisting Dr. Glob becomes an engine that keeps the students motivated for all 80 days. However, the students are also motivated by cold cash, too: the class that cycles most kilometres wins money for a class trip so the students can celebrate their victory. In addition, they can win smaller amounts during the campaign if their class sends Dr. Glob into the various sprint cities. The student in the class who contributes with the most kilometres wins the GPS, or the municipality can choose to collect them so they can use them in next year’s campaign.
Results that rock
The setup of the campaign makes it possible to reach a group that can be difficult to influence – and to keep their attention for a longer period of time. So far the campaign has run in the municipalities of Aarhus and Elsinore. Evaluations show that 2/3 of the students cycled more during the campaign than usual, and that about 40 % cycled on trips where they would normally have been in the back of a car.
The results of the campaign have also called forth a marketing award on the grounds of the campaign’s outstanding method and its ability to create results and behavioural change with the target group. The assessment also highlighted the use of the GPS devices as a central and motivating tool.