Freedom is the Way of Life

Organisers: Isadore, Motionhouse

What it is:

To commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, in which then-Czechoslovakia freed itself from Communist rule and became a functioning democracy, biking apparel company Isadore highlighted a powerful story. Zdenko F. Daneš fled communist rule in the Czech Republic on a bicycle in 1950 before moving to the United States, where he became a university professor. To celebrate his story, Isadore changed its slogan from “The Road is the Way of Life” to “Freedom is the Way of Life”. It also created a special collection of jerseys, the proceeds of which will go to Post Bellum, a non-profit organisation documenting the memories of those who lived under communist totalitarian rule in the 20th century.

Why we like it:

Every year, major brands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia commemorate the Velvet Revolution. And so they should: without the Velvet Revolution, the free-market environment allowing them to operate here would not exist.

But Isadore’s “Freedom is the Way of Life” campaign is different. It focuses on an individual whose use of a bicycle to escape communist totalitarianism highlights the realities of Czechoslovak life in the second half of the twentieth century, while demonstrating cycling’s undying importance as a mode of transport. The campaign’s centrepiece – a beautifully produced animated advert telling the story of Daneš’s escape – captures both of these messages. In this way, Isadore presents itself as a scholar of the Revolution and as a true corporate citizen of Slovakia.

PR Guru comment:

“This is a beautiful campaign by Isadore. It’s easy for brands to jump on historic or cultural events, but this feels very relevant to Isadore – it is a human story of an escape to freedom, with cycling at its core. I like, too, that the company is donating the proceeds from the jerseys to Post Bellum, so the campaign is about the brand’s values, rather than simply profit. A wonderful story, brilliantly told.”

– Kate Hartley

Kate Hartley is a Partner and Co-Founder at Polpeo, a social media crisis communications simulator which helps companies prepare for reputational crises in the digital age. She is the author of ‘Communication in a Crisis’ and sits on the PRCA’s digital steering committee designed to shape digital best practice in the industry
Photos: Isadore