Citi Bike – a New York City bike share program – got off to a fast start. But as initial excitement slowed, and the brutal winter weather hit, title sponsor Citi had two goals: 1.) keep the momentum going for 2014 and, 2.) raise more awareness about the program’s environmental friendliness.
The solution? Drop the ball. Citi Bikes would power the New Year’s Eve Ball at Times Square. For three days in late December, thousands of people rode stationary bikes at Citi Bike Pedal Power Station, generating kinetic energy to light the world-famous 30,000-bulb ball. Despite significant obstacles – sponsorships, permitting and design/engineering of the setup – some 2,200 New Yorkers and tourists rode bikes to generate 2,000+ kilowatts of energy. It was enough to power the iconic ball for the one-minute countdown.
The event landed multiple top-tier media placements, reaching tens of millions of people. The culmination was a celebration of the campaign on the world’s most-watched New Year’s Eve TV program. In addition, sign-ups for Citi Bike in January and February nearly doubled forecasts despite the harsh winter, with nearly 1,500 people signing up during the three days of the event.