Cyclehop welcomes Michael Belli as National Director of Sponsorship and Media Sales

A conversation with Michael Belli:

Tell us about your OOH media experience

For the past 25 years, I have been instrumental in developing, marketing, managing and selling Out-of-Home (OOH) media products for Clear Channel, Viacom & CBS Outdoor with a focus on mall retail properties.

How does bike share media assets compare to traditional OOH advertising?

Bike share is a unique media property.  It’s both fixed – like a bus shelter, and mobile – like a taxi top.

Traditional OOH media ads are designed to evoke consumer’s emotions and entice them to purchase a product or service. Bike share does that and more.  It connects the consumer with the brand through an experience. You might ride a bike when visiting NYC, take a photo and tweet it to your friends back home as ‘my best day in NYC’ with Citibank’s logo prominent in the background. This is something a traditional billboard can’t deliver.

What does the bike share industry have to offer to media buyers?

It’s a unique way to connect and communicate through a ‘feel good’ and ‘do good’ instrument. It also provides affordable OOH media access to about 100 U.S. cities through branding on hundreds or thousands of bikes, ads on bike-share kiosks and bike baskets, as well as digital and social media activation. In Chicago and San Francisco, Chipotle was giving away burritos to bike-share members and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) discounted bike-share memberships for their customers.

What category does bike share fall under in your world?

Bike share has a category of its own – or I should say covers multiple categories: OOH transit for kiosk and bike ads, stadium-like sponsorship for naming rights, and digital for apps and social media activation.

What role will you be playing in the bike-share industry? 

My role as CycleHop’s National Sponsorship and Media Sales Director is to connect ad buyers with available media assets in cities like Phoenix, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Ottawa and others. I will also educate them about this new form of OOH media opportunity. If we’re successful, the local communities will directly benefit from this as the money from sponsorship and advertising is invested in bikes and operations.

What can media buyers do and how can they connect with bike-share operators?

It’s kind of interesting because if you study the history of modern bike share, it started in Europe by the two largest outdoor advertising companies: JCDecaux and Clear Channel. Today, JCDecaux is still one of the largest bike-share operators in the world. Van Wagner also joined the party and is selling bike-share ads in multiple U.S. cities. I have no doubt that outdoor advertising companies and the clients they serve will continue to support this industry as they have in the past.

The bike-share industry is coming together this weekend in Pittsburgh for the North American Bike Share Association (NABSA) conference. One of the topics on the agenda is going to look at what the bike-share industry can do to connect the advertising industry with bike-share operators, coordinate national campaigns and standardize media assets. This is an exciting time for both bike share and the OOH industry.