The orange bicycle DKNY.Com Guerilla marketing scheme, by Rollingrck at Flickr.

DKNY is usurping a grassroots campaign to memorialize cyclists killed in New York City's traffic, with a guerrilla marketing campaign to push their product. Above is a picture of several orange-painted DKNY bikes, first widely noted at BikeBlog.


DKNY, Donna Karan's more mid-priced clothing line, is behind the campaign. Its web site features ridiculously good looking people frolicking about lower Manhattan, sometimes on a bike and says this effort is to encourage people to explore the city by cycling (the DKNY stores have free bike maps for distribution).

However, to us, it seems like the inspiration for the solid orange color-painted bikes placed around the city are the Ghost Bike memorials located around the city. Ghost Bikes are memorials installed by the bike-advocacy group Times Up! and Visual Resistance. They are placed around NYC as memorials to cyclists who have been killed in city traffic and are painted solid white.

To this date, Ghost Bikes have remained relatively unmolested by city agencies, who recognize that they are memorials. That involves a certain level of respectful goodwill among the citizens of New York and law enforcement. The hijacking of the memorials' medium could possibly spoil that detente. In our opinion, DKNY has crossed the line from "edgy" to "despicable," by co-opting grassroot memorials to dead people as a gimmick to peddle clothes.