From June, Lime, the leading French electric scooter brand, is speaking out for the first time about its riders’ behaviour.
France, like many other places, has seen rising tension over electric scooter users’ bad behaviour, which has led to negative media coverage. Using the typical complaints voiced by annoyed non-Limers, this campaign serves to remind scooter users of proper etiquette.
"Lime is changing the conversation and encouraging its riders to behave more responsibly."
“Sh*tty scooters!”, “Scooters really p*ss me off” and “These scooters are such a f*cking pain”. Who’s hasn’t heard this as an electric scooter whizzes past, despite them being immensely popular with many French consumers?
Even though 1 in 10 Parisians use them already, and 1 in 4 intend to in the future, there is clearly a lobby that doesn’t appreciate electric scooters in the capital. In response to this negative feeling, Lime has felt compelled to educate its users and encourage better behaviour on the roads.
The brand hopes to prove to its detractors that it understands their pain, and that Lime is keen to discourage any bad behaviour : the brand is launching a persuasive print campaign from the 6th June in Paris, followed by all of Metropolitan France.
I would say, good for them, but I fear the issue runs a lot deeper than just some poor parkers. I was assaulted by a Lime rider last year, he took umbrage to me explaining that sidewalk-riding was actually against the law where we were and decided to wield the scooter as a weapon chasing me into the nearest safe harbour. After countless hours contacting Lime for the rider's information, I had to give up my attempt of filing a police report which required this information. Eight months later Lime contacted me by email to ask if the issue had been resolved. You can make a great looking campaign, but the fish rots from the head.
President and Executive Creative Director Georges Mohammed-Chérif
Vice – President Thomas Granger
Managing Director Julien Levilain
Copywriter Lilian Moine
Artistic Director Margaux Hontang
Business Director Laura Quiles
Head of Strategic Planning Clément Scherrer
Planner Laëtitia Mulinazzi
Head of PR & Communication Amélie Juillet
PR & Communication Manager Paul Renaudineau
Head of Production Vanessa Barbel
Print Production Fany Maupou
Print Production Assistant Charlotte Chadeau
This campaign comes indeed at a time of rising tension and the message it's carrying doesn't seem to be well received here in France for a few reasons.
- First, recently a few Paris district's mayors towed scooters that were lying in the street. It was as much a communication campaign towards their electors as a response to the "legal void" scooter companies operates in buy using public spaces to conduct their increasingly inconvenient business.
- As we had some sort of public debate about UberEats, or Deliveroo etc. bikers who's workers rights are almost non existant, Lime juicers find themselves in similar situations.
- The environmental angle the scooter startups advertised turned out to be complete bullshit. Scooters having a "shelf life" of 28 days, juicers having to roam the city in cars to get the devices, charge them and put them back on the streets etc. the carbon footprint is atrocious. Plus there was a study who asked users what transportation they would use if it were not for scooters, a large percentage said they would just walk or use already available public transportation.
- We've seem a surge in accidents. And as it turns out, people are not insured on this type of vehicles and most scooters companies don't provide insurance either.
- We just had our first scooter related death.
Now, we have this campaign that seems to be aimed at people considered hostiles to lime as if presenting them this condescending and hypocritical message could convince them scooters are not a nuisance. It is also sort of scolding Lime own consumers for usages the company makes no effort to prevent. They apparently don't display any rules or best practices for the use, parking etc of their devices in the app.
Even considering we could agree with the message of the campaign, the mere existence and business model of this company is a nuisance for all the reasons mentioned above (use of public space, pollution, workers rights, accidents, etc.)
It might be considered a successful campaign, people are talking about it after all. But it is the manifestation of an economy and abhorrent startup trend of unchecked opportunistic businesses voided of any decency or respect for the environment they tend to operate in and for, as shown by this campaign, their users and their critics.
And finally, on an unrelated note, this little marketing trend of using profanity (especially if self censored) is tired and lame.