Monthly Archives: April 2008

the magic 8 ball says…

the magic 8 ball says

Look for one, possibly more, progressive lid maker to institute online ordering of highly personalized graphics, and perhaps limited dimensional mods, on basic models. Nike offers online individualized shoe options now. It’s a way to recover otherwise lost revenue while protecting dealer margins and marginalizing independent online resellers.

There’s serious discussion, if not outright implementation, of a breakout dealer show. Among some of the top tier exhibitors there’s palpable dissatisfaction with Advan$tar’s Dealer Expo management and priorities.

What’ll it take for TMC to survive over the long haul? One word – scooters. Not another Topper, no, God no, but a fully fledged family of domestically designed durables for boomers, commuters and high schoolers anxious over gas prices and global warming. We see totally separate badging that’s identified with but not totally divorced from the iconic bar and shield’s heritage. Scooters kicking ass? Could happen. A million units annually? Why not?

beware the v-word

is harley’s age finally beginning to show?

Surprising to see H-D’s 1st quarter earnings reported on yesterday’s NBC Evening News, highlighted because of disappointing financials leading to layoffs and more temporary shutdowns.

TMC’s spin defends the nearly 13% drop in sales by pointing out it’s not as bad as the general slump for heavyweights pegged at 14% give-take. Ohhhh-kay. More grist for the mill; per share earnings for the year expected to be off 20%. And although revenue was up nearly 11%, Q1 net dropped 2.5%. Overall, the brand expects total shipments in ’08 to be off by 23-27,000 units.

Those are the financials. Here’s a thought about the uncontrollables, in this instance the unintended by HD crossbranding by Schering-Plough’s heavily promoted Viagra. You know these spots, set to a reanimated Elvis warbling about the drug with lyrics set to Viva, Las Vegas.

The ads feature a gaggle of presumably “still vital” mostly white guys who seem so thrilled by the prospect of getting it up “for up to 4 hours” that they invariably head for some duck shack in the swamp and bang on the drums by themselves until finally – and here’s the rub – saddling up and heading for the, what, nearest titty bar? Mode of transportation in the inaugeral spot? Softail. Overall method of here’s how we roll? Cruiser.

Not convinced about subliminals? If you’re not the drug companies are. And they’ve got the focus groups to prove it. The message here is about as clear as an anvil through stained glass – as if real life sagging demos weren’t enough to contend with, along comes a King Kong marketer to bolster the notion that cruisers are the prime domain of solo boomers with a problem getting wood. And that’s gotta’ hurt Harley’s image pitch to their core market.

expanding your market? – just look north

canadians get it right - nifty book from our north of the border neighbors

MX Performance is one of those books that just feels fresh. Cutting edge without that familiar snarky tone that’s becoming a little too common elsewhere, MXP covers the events and lifestyle of it’s title from BC to Nova Scotia and everything inbetween, including action from below the border.

Does the sport need another pub? Wrong question. What enthusiast magazine is delivered to each and every CMRC (Canadian Motorsport Racing Club) member? That’s a qualified mailing list of a little more than 14,000 riders. Then there’s subscribers, and single-issue sales. Hip graphics, groovy chicks and plenty of content.

echoes of the past

the blue fish sushi delivers high energy asian cuisine

Was the time when any restaurateur worthy of his salt wrapped the dining experience around a book of matches. Like miniature billboards, these relics of a time when smokers accompanied their meals with between rounds cigarettes and end of the evening cigars have pretty much died out as a marketing tool – too many negatives.

I quit smoking in ’96 and haven’t looked back since, but last weekend I came across this nostalgic collectable while exploring a new restaurant, The Blue Fish Sushi, in Boca Raton.

I grabbed one of the colorful mementos on the way out with the idea of adding it to my small, packed away collection of dusty keepsakes from another era. Matchbooks were a fine example of the graphic designer’s art and it struck me as ironic that even though the heyday of this particular vehicle’s come and gone, a new need for small format graphics has taken its place: the cell phone.

market targets two-wheelers

mainstream swims downstream - bikers a demonstrable sub-demo

The New York Times Media and Advertising critic Stuart Elliot writes in this week’s column that the nation’s insurers are casting a new net to fetch up bikers, separate and apart from campaigns targeting car, truck and suv owners and none so aggressively as Allstate.

You’ve probably seen Allstate’s print versions in the obvious enthusiast books. The effort from Leo Burnett is also running broadcast, cable and web banners, all circled around the Allstate Garage microsite, a really nifty little piece of Flash ingenuity that’s surprisingly practical and used Indian Larry’s Legacy shop for content. Dissin’ OCC? Looks like, well okay with us.

The $10MM campaign’s aimed squarely at the owners of the country’s estimated 9-million registered bikes. What’s the point? To create awareness of Allstate’s mc channel.

Other industry players include market top dog Progressive, Geico and State Farm.