UK-based cycling lifestyle and apparel company Rapha is looking west with its latest campaign, ‘Riding is the Answer,’ which promotes the camaraderie of cycling in Los Angeles.
The campaign, by Mother in Los Angeles, represents the company’s first work with an external creative agency. In a 99-second short film, we follow a cyclist who is dealing with the daily ills of city life, pedaling through the urban landscape while garbagemen, traffic and commerce bombard his being.
As he weaves through cars, he then stops at a street corner and meets a handful of cycling friends. That’s when the sense of community pops in, with smiles covering the cyclists’ faces as they socialize while riding, then climb hills and escape the urban grind to overlook the beauty of the skyline from atop a picturesque summit.
“Rapha is a mission-focused company, driven by a simple purpose: making cycling the most popular sport in the world,” said Simon Mottram, chief executive officer of Rapha Cycling. “We’ve always felt like we have a duty of care for the sport. We’ve always been the ones pushing ‘riding’ forward. We think it’s now time to be even more evangelical about it than we’ve been before, bringing more people into this sport we love so much. So we wanted to go out and tell the world who we are, what we believe in and what our mission is.”
If ‘Riding is the Answer,’ then the question must be, ‘how do cyclists deal with the daily grind?’ The spot shows that, with friends, even the worst traffic can’t deter a good ride. The only dialogue is the snippets of conversation between the riders – there is no voice over – highlighting the connection between cyclists.
“I’ve been friends with Simon and the whole crew at Rapha basically since they launched almost 15 years ago in Brick Lane, London,” said Joe Staples, executive creative director and partner, Mother in Los Angeles. “Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to ride for their Continental team, to go on trips around America and ride and race in their clothing. I love what they do and what they bring to riding.”
Staples said that Rapha contacted the agency with a brief that had gone out to several agencies. On a call with Sarah Clark, Rapha’s chief marketing officer, shw stated that “we want more people to come to church, without having to turn it into a disco.” Those poetic words spoke volumes to the Mother team and ultimately led to the work.
“We wanted to show that there are many reasons to ride. The concept of ‘suffering’ has been central to Rapha’s many stories over the years, but camaraderie, escape, fitness, a quick commute and joy are also things that riding can deliver. In the film, we tried to make one single morning ride hint at some of these other reasons,” said Staples.
The campaign will run across social channels, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, with a focus on the US and German markets. It will also appear in all of Rapha’s brick and mortar stores – known as Clubhouses – around the world.