Wednesday, September 23, 2009

JC Decaux and the little guys

At the nexus where web development, brand marketing and customer management meet right now there is a liberating sense that anything can happen. Companies and brands are a bit more nervous about it, true, but wonderful little things take place all the time to show a warmer sense of interaction coming from people who have genuine affinity with products and crucially were never told what they couldn't do. So much of this stuff is brand new and the fuddy-duddies who normally apply the brakes can't always keep up.

Can-doism. Like Dusty and Michael, the Coke-loving dweebs who set up their own fanpage, which soon became extremely popular.

It was unofficial, and almost four million people are now fans. I don't understand why either, but that's not relevant. Coke came sniffing (behave) but they had the good sense to recognise people power and not fuck it up for the dweebs or themselves. They co-author the page now or some such, but not with the heavy hand they could so easily swing.

However. It remains to be seen just how long this hippie vibe can survive, when you hear about shit like this happening. From the Irish Times:

A FREE iPhone application for users of Dublin’s bicycle rental scheme has been withdrawn after the software firm which developed it was threatened with legal action by the advertising agency backing the new initiative.

The real-time application allows users of the scheme to find their nearest Dublinbikes station and see how many bicycles and spaces are available at it.

Fusio, the company behind the application, was sent a cease and desist letter from JC Decaux earlier this week in which it was told that legal action would be considered if it continued to offer the mobile application for download.

Fusio seem to be a fairly together web developer based in Dublin, doing half decent work and getting themselves noticed in the right ways. I don't know them, but I like the sound of the iPhone app, and how could you not like such a cheeky and clever way of getting a little bit of self publicity? They earned it after all, and in return created something useful, ozone friendly and, perhaps most important of all in these hairshirt days, cool.

JC Decaux on the other hand is a very big company, and benefitting massively from the bike scheme. (It's had its share of controversy and detractors, if you weren't aware.) Quite what they had to lose by people knowing where the fucking bikes they wanted to rent were, well, I am not altogether sure. Perhaps they would like to explain that.

When they're at it maybe they can tell us why they didn't start doing wheelies of delight at the thought that someone would bother their arses developing the app in the first place. Me, I'd slap it up on my website as quick as I could. And be damn pleased with myself. I am however but one cycling hippie, with two wheels and the truth.
JC Decaux. It's their bike, ok? (Pic credit)


  1. I couldn't believe it when I heard this the other day. It's just nuts. Simply bonkers. What were JC thinking. In fact it was clearly a case of them not thinking.

    At the very least they would simply request that their logo, branding etc. be inserted into the app or onto the page - but threaten legal action? Stupidity at it's worst.

  2. Surely the point is that they want the ability to release the app on thier own terms (i.e. with adverts inside)?

    For the record I downloaded the App, used it last week and think it's the best thing ever...

  3. Iam sick that this was done in a time where initiative should be applauded and kicked in the face! Shame on you JC Decaux

  4. Joined-up thinking it isn't, Fusio have been and will continue to be cutting-edge cool and worthy. JC Decaux on the other hand have just littered our streets with ugly bilboards.

  5. I think Christian's point is well made, Foxo, although I suspect these poster guys have an app up their sleeve too. And Anonymous #1, not quite sure I'd go so far as to applaud initiative while kicking it in the face? ;)

  6. typical irish...the bikes are great the bikes are great the bikes are great ....but the cheek of decaux to make some money on advertising which by the was is paying for these bikes....never happy...