Boris Bikes are to be decked out in red and white after Santander penned a seven -year sponsorship deal with Transport for London that will see it replace Barclays.
The announcement confirms reports from earlier in the year and the financial firm will pay £6.5m annually for seven years, pushing the total outlay of the deal to £4.5m.
The fee is a noticeable jump on the £5m a year Barclays is believed to have paid, demonstrating the brand awareness value of the deal despite Barclays decision to walk away from it.
Santander’s red and white branding will replace Barclays’ blue tone on more than 10,000 cycles across the capital from April. The move will complement the bank’s existing sponsorships and marketing featuring high profile sports stars such as golfer Rory Mcllory and Olympic gold medal heptathlete Jessica Ennis.
The bank has been pumping millions into raising its profile nationwide after it was formed in 2010 from the remnants of the Leicester and Badford & Bingley, Alliance and Abbey National. Last year, it made its biggest outlay on media to date to promote a brand revamp that pledged “simple, personal and fair”.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Santander’s marketing nowse will help take cycle hire scheme to a “new level”.
“With my cycling vision about to bear fruit in new Superhighways, Quietway cycle routes and better junctions, there will be more opportunities than ever for Santander Cycles,” he added. “It couldn’t be a better time to get involved in cycling.”
Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander, said: “The Santander Cycles Scheme is a great example of our commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate across the UK.”
Graeme Craig, TfL's director of commercial development, added: ““We are really excited that our new partnership with Santander will help us build on the success of London’s iconic Cycle Hire scheme. It represents great value for customers, who will see improvements over the coming years including more bikes, more docking stations and new ways to access the cycles."
The financial firm is said to have beaten both Coca-Cola and Jaguar Land Rover to the scheme after both were involved separate negotiations with TfL.
Santander’s fee represents something of a coup for travel bosses after its publicised struggles to attract big spending brands to its New Years Eve fireworks and free tube rights.