In yet another example of our special relationship, American cities are using clever marketing techniques to bring us subtle glimpses of their great land. This month the Chicago and Illinois Tourist Office will release a fleet of 25 branded taxis to mark the 2nd phase of marketing for Chicago UK, offering Londoners free rides around town on the first Monday and last Friday of the month. Apparently, the cabs are covered in ‘quirky phrases’ and images of the windy city’s skyline. We can only imagine how quirky the phrases might be. The mind boggles.
If you see a cab, all you have to do is flag it down for a free ride. City dwellers are also offered the chance to win a free holiday to the American location, by snapping a picture of the cabs and sending it by text to 87121.
But beware! Although we don’t doubt the sheer benevolence of the campaign, taxis are only free in zone 1 and 2. Before you picture being rudely ejected from the cab on the borders of Ealing Broadway, we are assured that passengers can pay the difference if they want to continue their journey. Strangely, passengers are also warned to ‘ask the driver if the journey is free prior to boarding’, which adds a bewildering addendum to the ‘free taxi’ offer, doesn’t it?
Although the Londonist staff is generally an affable lot, in the current economic climate the offer of any freebies may lead to a vicious fracas with fellow citizens. The Primark jostle could seem like a gentle poke in the ribs on the Northern Line by comparison.
Image courtesy of SolarWind - Chicago via the Londonist Flickr pool