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.
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here
CR in Print
The July issue of Creative Review features a piece exploring the past and future of the dingbat. Plus a look at the potential of paper electronics and printed apps, how a new generation of documentary filmmakers is making use of the web, current logo trends, a review of MoMA New York’s group show on art and type, thoughts on how design may help save Greece and much more. Also, in Monograph this month we showcase a host of rejected design work put together by two Kingston students.
Please note, CR is no longer stocked in WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your independent newsagent can order it for you or you can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, email Laura McQueen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.