SADDLE BLOSSOMS
COGOO - CLEAN CITY ORGANIZATION
STOP ABANDONING BICYCLES
TBWAHAKUHODO Tokyo, JAPAN


CLIENT: COGOO - CLEAN CITY ORGANIZATION
PRODUCT: STOP ABANDONING BICYCLES
ENTRANT: TBWAHAKUHODO TOKYO, JAPAN
TYPE OF ENTRY: PRACTICES & SPECIALISMS
CATEGORY: EVENTS & EXPERIENTIAL (INCL. STUNTS)
ENTRANT COMPANY : TBWAHAKUHODO TOKYO, JAPAN
ADVERTISING AGENCY : TBWAHAKUHODO TOKYO, JAPAN
PR AGENCY : THE WINDWARD TOKYO, JAPAN
PRODUCTION COMPANY : AOI PRO. TOKYO, JAPAN


- Credits
KENTA IKOMA, TBWA/HAKUHODO, CREATIVE DIRECTOR
KENTA IKOMA, TBWA/HAKUHODO, COPYWRITER
KENTA IKOMA, TBWA/HAKUHODO, EXPERIENCE ARCHITECT
HARUHITO NISAWADAIRA, TBWA/HAKUHODO , ART DIRECTOR
YO KIMURA, TBWA/HAKUHODO, DESIGNER
MASASHI MATSUKURA, TBWA/HAKUHODO, INTERACTIVE PLANNER
TAKAYA SAKANO, FREELANCE, PHOTOGRAPHER
KEIKO TAKEDA, FREELANCE, RETOUCHER
TAKEHIKO NISHIZAWA, LIGHT THE WAY, DIRECTOR
MINAMOTOTADASHI KATO, HANAYA KATO KICHI, BOTANICAL SPECIALIST
KOKI TAKAHASHI, AOI PRO., PRODUCER
YOICHIRO HIMATA, AOI PRO., PRODUCER
HIROKI TAKESHITA, TOW , PRODUCER
YU MIYASHITA, UNDERARROW, MUSIC COMPOSER
TAKESHI KOGAHARA, AOI PRO., DIRECTOR
NAOFUMI YONETSUKA, HAUNTED, PRODUCTION DESIGNER
YUSUKE GAWASAWA, WINDWARD, PR DIRECTOR


- Summary
In Tokyo, over 2 million bikes are disposed on the streets every year, but the problem has remained widely unnoticed. With COGOO, an organization aiming to create cleaner cities, we set out to raise people’s awareness by making this “invisible” problem, more “visible.” We transformed bicycle-parking lots with abandoned bikes into art galleries displaying SADDLE BLOSSOMS: A Beautiful Solution to an Ugly Problem. We recycled saddles into an unforeseen medium, making passers-by stop to “watch” and “feel” the hitherto-invisible problem. In just 1 month, the exhibition helped reduce 40% of abandoned bikes. It even caught the attention of the local government and got them to take action. The abandoned bikes turned into art objects allowed people to realize how long the problem had been ignored, and how long these bikes had been left abandoned. It transformed the way they perceive abandoned bikes. It not only got the attention of passers-by, but it also caught the attention of the press and we received numerous interview requests that quickly made this project into nation-wide news. As a result, we succeeded in generating great PR value using abandoned bikes which otherwise had no value but required recycling costs.


- Brief From The Client:
The abandoned bicycles went largely unnoticed sitting in the same spot, day after day. Our hypothesis was that the situation showed no signs of improvement because the problem remained “invisible.” So our challenge was to make an “invisible” problem more “visible,” and at the same time to make something people were “forced” to see (i.e. cautionary notices) into something they “want” to see.


- Results
In just 1 month, the exhibition helped reduce 40% of abandoned bikes in the area, which in actual numbers meant about 12,000 bikes. This unique campaign was featured in various news programs and the media value (non-paid publicity) reached more than $1,000,000. This meant a very high ROI for a campaign with a small budget of $30,000. It even caught the attention of the local government, and got them to recover and recycle the abandoned bikes. We successfully brought to life a beautiful solution to an ugly problem.


- Execution
We transformed bicycle-parking lots with abandoned bikes into an art gallery displaying SADDLE BLOSSOMS: A Beautiful Solution to an Ugly Problem. First, we collected dozens of abandoned bikes and recycled the saddles into planters to be used as an unforeseen new medium. We then got support from botanical experts to plant special seeds that grow fast. The plants left outdoors grew under the different weather, and in just a few weeks, abandoned bikes became art objects that created a unique plant gallery that caught the attention of many passers-by who stopped to ‘watch’ and ‘feel’ the invisible problem in a way like never before. Furthermore, we promoted the art objects through posters and online. This news spread quickly, and the problem of abandoned bikes became something people could no longer ignore.


- The Situation
In Tokyo, over 2 million bikes are being disposed on the city streets every year, creating huge litter, blocking traffic, as well as being aesthetically disturbing. COGOO, an organization aiming to create cleaner cities had tried to solve this problem by using regular cautionary stickers and notices but to no avail. With the number of abandoned bikes continuing to increase, COGOO was desperately searching for an effective, actionable, and out-of-the-box idea to raise awareness of this problem.


- The Strategy
For a long time, the issue of abandoned bikes was of no concern to the passers-by. We realized that for people with such a perception, cautionary notices from a third party would fall on deaf ears, and that instead they would be more receptive to a message coming from the victim bikes themselves. Instead of using traditional media, our strategy was to turn the abandoned bikes themselves into a new medium, and to do so in an unprecedentedly attractive way. This would not only attract the passers-by, but the press as well which in turn would allow us to generate high PR value using abandoned bikes which otherwise would have no value but require recycling costs.


- Word
designboom - "the project sees the seats of neglected bikes being reappropriated as planters, bringing attention to the forgotten two-wheelers through flora; arranging them in bicycle parking lots to create an artistic intervention which drew the attention of passersby. each saddle was outfitted with a name plate that stated the species of vegetation sprouting out of its surface. the resulting work was further promoted through posters and online. the initiative had a significant impact, reducing the number of discarded bicycles on the streets of tokyo by 40% and went on to hit the news, which caught the attention of the local government who subsequently stepped in to help assist in eradicating the problem. the social and environmental impact that ‘saddle blossoms’ had on tokyo, saw it receive a silver lion at the 2014 cannes lions festival of creativity in the PR (events & experiential, including stunts) category."
smart magazine - "Not only did this prompt the removal of 40 percent of these “homeless” bikes – either reclaimed by owners or removed and recycled by the city – i. e. an impressive 800,000 bicycles, but the remaining ones have become, at least in part, a kind of distributed botanical garden covering the entire city."


- Award (credited as music composer)
Cannes Lions, PR Lions, Silver Lion, FR, 2014
New York Festivals, Public Service Announcements, Environmental Issues, Finalist Award, US, 2014
New York Festivals, Design, Public Spaces, Finalist Award, US, 2014
New York Festivals, Direct & Collateral, Ambient, Finalist Award, US, 2014
The One Show, Experimental / Installations, Branded Entertainment Merit Award, US, 2014
The One Show, Spatial Design / Not-for-Profit, Design Merit Award, US, 2014
Adfest, Outdoor Lotus, Ambient : Small Scale, Bronze, TH, 2014