Monthly Archives: May 2008

virtual marketing awaits – inside sims 2

If you’re not familiar with the online virtual reality game the Sims, it’s a monumental time consumer featuring humanesque avatars whose daily lives are guided by the player. That’s right, it’s just like real life, only fake from inside a computer.

Today’s New York Times reports that wood pulp furniture giant Ikea announced a tie-in with the popular vid game making their product line available to players. For a price. That’s correct – game players can purchase with real money access to a pretend Ikea catalog in order to decorate their pretend two-dimensional homes with pretend collapsable furniture.

The real news here is that other marketers, including Ford and McDonalds, are already on board, either with free, downloadable content or product placement already imbedded in the games.

Here’s the question: shouldn’t the Sims community have the option to ride – sport, cruiser, chop, tour or dirt – instead of drive? Seems to us like an opportunity waiting to happen.

the (product) info highway

new life for print

How do consumers gather product information as part of the purchase decision? The folks at SEMA produced an interesting set of numbers from their 2007 Automotive Lifestyles Survey and frankly we were surprised at how strong the consumer print category turned out to be.

Ad reps take heart. With a response rating of over 80%, that info channel clearly led the other four categories as an influencer in the purchasing process. The survey rated responses based on product reviews, and it’s clear from these results that editorial sway isn’t dead yet. (Not clear is to what extent the respondents were influenced, if at all, by subjective bias if detected.)

what’s it gonna’ take

it\'ll get worse before it gets worse

Last week’s CW email lead with a feature on Petrol Pinchers by Allan Girdler, in which he runs down eight candidates in a variety of flavors and styles that are guaranteed to ease your pump pain. Along the way he wonders why anyone would drive to work instead of ride, a fine sentiment but the asphalt tropics of Florida sooner or later disabuses most of us living here of that summertime notion.

Here at opinion central, we’re wondering why, with independent and franchise dealers alike bemoaning the category sales slide while at the same time dailies around the country are running internally intiated lifestyle and business features on the sudden attractiveness of two-wheeled transport as both protest and practical necessity, there’s surprisingly little pro-active industry pr showing up on an hourly basis.

We can think of a half-dozen pitches for manufacturers or dealers that right off the top would generate the kind of public interest media’s clamoring for these days. Four-buck gas? See you in the papers.

new familiar face at v-twin news

v-twin news names new editor

When industry insider Robin Hartfiel was abruptly ousted from his Motorcycle Product News editor’s chair last March, we predicted it wouldn’t be long before he lined up a new gig. It wasn’t.

Paisano Publications announced his appointment Wednesday as the new editor-in-chief of their b2b dealer pub, V-Twin News. He takes over from Ben Lamboeuf, who now moves to retail publishing as associate editor on Paisano’s core bike titles – Easyriders and V-Twin – along with new responsibilities for an as yet unnamed automotive title.

It’s expected that Hartfiel will leverage his considerable reach in the powersports community to develop external revenue opportunities, along with a fresh look and veteran insight, to the primarily domestic v-twin publication as Paisano explores new channels in what is generally acknowledged to be a particularly troubled segment of an overall sluggish market.

oas reunion

the 2008 reunion of the cult classic

The 2008 homage to the cult classic On Any Sunday takes place this Wednesday, the 21st. Organized by the Orange County Dualies and with TR as the lead sponsor, the event benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Regal Big 6 Theater in Newport Beach. Procrastinators alert: tiks are nearly gone so hurry on over to the web site and pick yours up.

how vespa rolls

vespa gets around with the help of this audacious canadian campaign

With all the current industry buzz about branding, you’d think we’d see a bit more imagination. Like this urban “squareheads” event by artist and photog Dan Bergeron at Fauxreel, part of a sleek, sophisticated effort from Dentsu/Canada for Vespa/Canada (our work>vespa S>guerilla) that’s as entertaining as it is smart.

Take a while to camp out at Dentsu’s site and don’t miss a peek at their New Media work for Vespa (our work>vespa>new media). When the Harley owner says he’s ditching his ride for a Vespa you can’t help but smile.

Oh yeah, scooter sales are up 300 percent over ’07 – that’s the power of unfettered and focused professional creative.

jobs vs jobs

sometimes advertising beats most other jobs

Despite all the pitfalls, sometimes being in advertising beats a job at the vets taking a cat’s temperature. You can see more – much more – at Brazil’s Cabana Cachaca.

esposito out at global

frank esposito at cycle world trek 2007

In a not totally unexpected development, former Global president Frank Esposito was uncerimoniously sacked by the new management group led by original Custom Chrome founder Nace Panzica.

Esposito, here with Cycle World ad manager Paul LaBella at the start of 2007’s Cycle World Trek, was recruited in 2002 to steer CC and its subsidiaries, including Jammer and Motorcycle Stuff, into calmer waters. That didn’t happen.

Esposito says he was escorted from the Morgan Hill headquarters by security with no advance notice of the elimination of his position. Apparantly, new management wanted to send a message, although the purpose is unclear, as is the future fortune of a reconstituted yet again Global Motorsports.

got geico? get over it.

We think these ads will keep running until everyone’s a customer. That goes for the stupid lizard, too.

na’s top brand is…

Last month’s North American brand ranking by research firm Millward Brown included at least one surprise in their latest Top 10 list. We’ll get to that in a minute, after first mentioning that the powersports aftermarket has of a sudden become fascinated with branding, its potential value, and how best to leverage the intangible.

Press releases and editorial roundups are ripe these days with pregnant references to “growing building expanding” the brand, without, it seems, much thought as to the desired goals or the means of achievement. Continue reading