Razorfish wanted to make a splash at SXSW 2013. We thought the best way to do it was take a step back and recapture some of the magic of those early days when the transformation of everyday physical activities into digital experiences still excited us and felt new by doing something unexpected. And in doing so, conduct a social experiment that would capture people’s imaginations. We asked ourselves, how would conference goers react to a FREE form of transportation they could use and leave wherever? What if someone came across a bike with a personality? A bike that Tweeted? And so #UseMeLeaveMe was born: a social experiment in creativity and technology. Twenty free bikes were released into the wild at SXSW for people to use and leave at their leisure. Riders could track the bikes at UseMeLeaveme.com or via the hashtag #UseMeLeaveMe. We outfitted each bike with batteries, lights, a GPS unit, a solar panel and instructions. Each bike had its own personality and Twitter handle. They tweeted about their locations, the weather, time of day, and clever messages about their rides at SXSW. Riders were given no rules or guidelines, we left it to the attendees to use and leave the bikes in good shape (which was usually the case!). A first of its kind, #UseMeLeaveMe delivered an innovative but very simple solve for the existing issue of transportation at SXSW. Fully knowing others had introduced digital transportation programs at SXSW, Razorfish saw an untapped opportunity to inject personality into the solution to ramp up the engagement and overall fun. And the numbers speak for themselves, in just five days, the #UseMeLeaveMe program earned over 22 million impressions! This number was driven by almost 3 million impressions via Twitter (#usemeleaveme, organic tweets, re-tweets and @mentions to the bikes’ handles) and approximately 20 million impressions from media coverage by Mashable, PSFK, Adland TV, Yahoo! News, Digital Trends and many others. The program even caught the attention of the world’s 2nd largest bike share program (in France). Sure, we lost a few bikes along the way, and there was even a friendly “hostage" situation, but in the end, our tweeting bikes had a lasting impact spanning the social sphere. #UseMeLeaveMe reaffirmed that yes, everything that can be digital (including lifeless bikes), will be.
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