Halfords and the Tour De Francis
How would an amateur cyclist fare on the route of the Tour de France using a 'regular' bike from Halfords? Agency DLKW Lowe tells the story of the Tour de Francis in a 15-minute documentary and a series of TV idents
Halfords is sponsoring ITV4's coverage of the Tour de France this year. Jonny Watson and Dan Harrison, creative directors at the retailer's agency DLKW Lowe, hit on the idea of putting an amateur cyclist through the rigours of some of the Tour's toughest stages on a Halfords bike (actually a Carrera Virago, cycling fans, which costs almost £1000, so not exactly cheap then).
They came up with the punning title Tour de Francis for the project and issued a call for amateur cycists called Francis to take part. After a series of auditions, Dan Francis, a 29 year-old Londoner who works for a pharmaceutical company and who spotted the idea on a cycling forum, was chosen. Apparently, there was also a back-up Francis, just in case, but he was not needed.
The agency took Francis and a 12-strong support team to France and Belgium to ride four of this year's Tour stages, including one major climb. His efforts are recorded in a 15-minute documentary (directed by Nick Mason at Another Film Company) which is viewable on YouTube and on the Tour de Francis Facebook page. The footage has also been used to make 24 idents which are running in ad breaks during ITV4's coverage of the Tour.
Reaction on cycling sites to the project so far, seems to be a mix of scepticism and admiration for Francis's endeavours – plus some irritation at his description of "smashing it up by the river" at one point. But sponsorship idents, particularly those that have to last for three weeks, are notoriously difficult to pull off without engendering annoyance or boredom in the audience and Francis's puppyish enthusiasm and evident relish for the task is refreshing. Regular viewers may not feel the same by the time the Tour reaches Paris though.
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Nice overview on the campaign. But clearly your writer doesn't know much about cycling or the average cost of a road bike (or the cost of a starter bike for that matter)... I think you'll find that 1000GBP is considered 'nothing' in context of road cycling, to the majority watching the TDF.
I've not really been a fan of the idents (finding them a bit corny), but did enjoy watching the full vid.
I really enjoyed this. No more pretentious than the Rapha films and it does a good job of reflecting what some of the ups and downs of what the pros must experience in the real tour. More importantly though, it positions Halfords where they want to be at the moment. I recall a time not so long ago when their reputation as a bike vendor was pretty average.
This just seems to rip off the look of Rapha.
I'm bored of the adverts already, there are not enough of them to keep my interest.
In reply to hjd, 1000GBP is one hell of a lot to some of us mate. I am a 47 year old keen cyclist who covers 200-300 miles per week and do the occasional sportive...I run an old 8speed giant OCR 2 which I bought second hand from a mate for £100. I have used the bike for 3 years and it hasn't missed a beat. I average between 14-20 MPH depending on the type of ride.
Not all of us cyclists are Cash whores who think the more they spend the better they ride, I have friends who come out with me on their 1-3k machines and they have difficulties keeping up with me, the bike doesn't make the rider.
I have found an awful lot of snobbishness among a certain types of cyclists who have to have the most expensive kit as some sort of "fashion Statement" They just need to chill and enjoy the ride more rather than worry about who is watching them.
Have to agree with Dave T in that the price of 1K is a damn lot of money!! Snobbishness is rife in cyclists and in some cases these so called Cyclists cant be bothered to acknowledge other cyclists(thankfully the majority will have the decency to acknowledge)
I ride purely for pleasure on an old Carrera I bought from a work colleague for £50."its not about the bike" and it gives me so much pleasure.
Watching the 15 minute video just makes me want to ride more! Job done
If you don't have enough money to spend on your bike then why are you riding sportives? You get charged £20 plus to ride a route you could do yourself, or in a club-based addax event for a couple of quid.
Your bike is probably fine for what you're doing with it, but good luck if you ever try and race it at any level ;)
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