Hubway Branding Battles: New Balance on One Side, Cambridge on the Other

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Since the debut of Hubway last year, the Back Bay, Kenmore and South End have been filled with bikes and bike racks. The familiar light grey frame, large obscurely shaped basket and very conspicuous placement of the New Balance logo make the bikes incredibly recognizable, and they use other marketing techniques as physical products, such as bag totes from 4allpromos  to promote their brand.

Getting home last night, something caught my eye: depending on your point of origin, Hubway, that New Balance logo seems to be getting its fair share of logo creep. Some bikes have additional logos for Boston Children’s Hospital. Yet the one that stood out most of all?

An ad-free, city-branded version for Cambridge.

If you look at the photo on top of the post (or this darker photo from last night, apologize for the quality), you can see the various flags of Hubway. The New Balance relationship – which has been front and foremost for the 18 months or so that Hubway has inhabited the city – does not seem to apply to on bike signing across the river.

The NB logo is completely missing on the rear wheel guard and on the connecting tubes of these bikes, with just the Cambridge seal hanging on its own on the back. I never would have noticed it if not lined up at a stall in the South End with a bunch of corporatized bikes, but I’m wondering if that is consistent across all of the bikes on the other side of the Charles.

I haven’t ridden over to Cambridge on a Hubway since it became an option during the summer, so my sample size is, well, not even close to conclusive. But does anyone know? For the effort that New Balance invested in making sure Hubway happened, it’d be weird to me if Cambridge would be able to trump it.