Category Archives: marketplace news

the truth is out there – maybe

dunlop wants you to know

dunlop download magazine

download dunlop online magazine

Dunlop’s 68-page Download Magazine is their most recently distributed PDF contribution to online publishing. This issue includes features on the Isle of Man, Robbie Maddison, the Barber Motorsports Museum, X-Games, and a conversation with Elena Myers—the first woman in history to win an AMA road racing national.

Visuals are gorgeously done – showing that print and digital can play well together.

Want more? There’s some interactivity; links include archival access for a look back, videos, product comparisons and the team moto web site upgrade.

mc mag folds; 30 years and out

In an announcement e-mailed – ironically, considering – June 18, Rick Campbell, Publisher and Editor of Motorcycle/ATV/UTV Industry Magazine(s) and the Powersports International Internet Expos (PIIE), will cease operations July 1, 2010. (

Campbell is the latest casualty in print’s war of attrition with online (digital) content, further hampered by a devastated powersports market in an overall struggling economy. The main culprit remains loss of ad revenue, the lifeblood of publishing and the sauce that has historically driven the presses.

announcement ends 30-year run

While MIM’s readership remained fairly constant, the same couldn’t be said for the B2B’s clients. Campbell recently took a big redesign step of downsizing from a tabloid format to a more conventional, more economical letter-based layout. The move bought time, but no new revenue. Continue reading

wal-mart’s brand marketing blunder

wal-mart rethinks choice, risks loyalty

Larry Silvey’s the editorial director at Advanstar’s Aftermarket Business, and a favorite target is retailing giant Wal-Mart. In a recent column he called them out on two fronts: their new, and puzzling, supplier relationship strategy in which they took over delivery duties of goods from supplier to store, and a marketing decision pitting store against name brand that apparantly backfired. Our interest lies mainly in the marketing side so we’ll leave logistics aside and look at what happened after Wal-Mart marketing decided less is more when it came to consumer choices in the shopping aisles. Continue reading

history repeats – just like before

Oh how the woe continues to flow. And you’d think there was no such thing as corporate PR. We said last August that when brands don’t pay attention, bad things happen. Delays during flight are part of the package. Multi-hour delays while you’re leisurely parked with a full load of frantic passengers continues to amaze.

Imagine finding yourself in the headlines, spotlighted like an upcoming episode of “Lost”. As in, “Starving Passengers Rationed Pringles.” And only one passenger suffers a panic attack? That just has to have major buzz kill written all over it. Continue reading

but – what about print?

Today, thanks to desktop publishing, four color printing has never been cheaper, crisper, smarter or easier. It also finds itself nearly shipwrecked in channel after channel, helping to drag down the US Post Office along the way.

The June, 2007 issue of Motorcycle Product News ran 108 pages including covers. By March, 2010, the pages had shrunk – along with staff and editorial budget – to 56 and counting. This isn’t to pick on venerable MPN, long a staple in the powersports community – they’re just one among thousands of titles facing real issues of survival. It’s more an open question of what happens next to the communications infrastructure when fading advertising revenue can’t sustain the hard costs print publishing requires.

Continue reading

feel the tweet, luke – feel the tweet

toyota's vaunted brand image was trashed by twitterAccording to Indian website TopNews, Toyota’s PR department discovered early on that within hours of the historic sales embargo and accompanying recall, following right on the heels of steering, floor mat and gas pedal recalls, social media site twitter was responsible for painting a picture of a crippled giant. Twitter members generated an exponentially catastrophic message rate that at one point measured over 30 new tweets a minute, unleashing a torrent of negative publicity impossible to counter or control.

The metric that emerges as a result? There is no PR antidote that can stop or slow the viral nature of a global, near instantaneous stampede for the exits. In a time of widespread acceptance of crisis management by top corporations, the options for damage control are for significantly reduced, and in Toyota’s case, zero.

In Toyota’s case, where the problems are cumulative, the results in some cases fatal, and a definitive cure nowhere in site, the problem for successfully surviving the fallout becomes even more difficult. Previous worst case crisis’, like the Tylenol poisoning scare in 1982 that generated the template for PR intervention, would probably have been controllable even in today’s unfiltered social media atmosphere by the twin decisions of immediate recall and the suspension of product sales until tamper-proof packaging – and a sure fix – could be instituted.

does journalism have a future? yes!

columbia_university_reportA welcome note to end the year on comes from an October report by the Journalism School of Columbia University on The Reconstruction of American Journalism. The PDF download opens with an optimistic forecast before setting the stage by looking back to our journalistic roots beginning in the 18th century.

I agree with the conclusions in general. My reservations spring mostly from concern about the increasing difficulties posed by the exponential expansion of technology and the corresponding very serious problems that arise out of authenticity; as the report notes, “authenticated journalism”.

Just today a mid-afternoon flash on the death of Hollywood actress Brittany Murphy by web site TMZ was cautiously cited as source even though verification was somewhat slow in materializing, highlighting the problems that come with global transmission as near fact that which hasn’t been properly vetted in context.

Is the demise of journalism’s Golden Age premature? The report by authors Leonard Downie, Jr. and Prof. Michael Schudson argues yes – and supports their conclusion with a number of well thought out examples of how, why and when the transformation of the Fourth Estate from ad advertising based model to (perhaps) a community based enterprise will occur.

an unsustainable trend

sooner or later there's nothing left to shrinkIn today’s digital world there’s more time spent on measuring than creating. The word used is metrics, and it refers to how the bean counters parse a grasshopper’s head hair into a thousand different points of occasionally interesting reference.

Here’s one metric that doesn’t require an introducton or a powerpoint full of pie charts. I call it “fatness”.

The 2010 Motorcycle Product News Buyer’s Guide arrived in today’s mail – and it didn’t take Spidey Sense to figure out PDQ that the gas tank’s nearly empty.

My “fatness” index clearly proves that MPN’s Buyer’s Guide lost 3/16″ over the past 12 months, going from a still respectable 1/2″ in December, 2008, to an anemic 5/16″ in December, 2009. At one time this annual issue required a small burro to transport.

It’s no secret that A) advertisers are fleeing print and that B) powersports is leaking market like the Titanic took on ice water. This isn’t about any particular brand or channel. It’s just an honest take on a distressing trend that shows no signs of improvement.

As someone comfortable in either print or web I see a massive error in judgement in the stampeded abandonment of print advertising for the evolving medium of the internet. For a great take on how monster good advertising does work, and more importantly about how the entire retail conversation is interrelated, check the blog entry by Social Media guru Chris Brogan on his prediction about the future of retail.

worst (powersports) ad – ever!

Mid USA About F'n Time - And It's No F'n Joke, Either

The Worst Powersports Ad Ever. Run!

Bowing to requests to identify the Worst Powersports Ad Ever, I went to the archives for proof that things can always spontaneously combust when marketing concept, content, and construction are left to the client.

Then family-run, now investor owned distributor Mid USA ran this hot mess back in 2002. Cape Fear it’s not; by comparison, Carvel Ice Cream’s Cookie Puss easily qualifies as brilliant.

dealer show trade wars

more shows, fewer dealers - something doesn't add upMotorsports has another performance oriented venue for dealers to put on the go – no go list: upstart International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) now goes head to head with the well established Performance Racing Industry (PRI) event, both held the first week in December: IMIS in Indianapolis, the former home of PRI, which was successfully transplanted to usually sunny Orlando and a much larger exhibit facility a few years back.

And both of those shows compete for many of the same dealers normally attending the granddaddy of all automotive events, the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Las Vegas spectacle traditionally held less than a month earlier in November.

SEMA, meanwhile, padded their portfolio with a newly created Powersports and Utility Vehicles channel which, according to their March press release, “…will feature manufacturers of power-driven equipment, such as personal transporters; motorcycles; motor scooters; two-, three- and four-wheel ATVs; pocket bikes; specialty golf carts; mini-bikes; dirt bikes; and accessories and services that support these vehicles.”

Good news – not – for long established powersports event leader Advanstar who this week conceded more collateral damage to their brand when they announced the Lucas Oil Stadium venue would not be part of their mid-February 2010’s Dealer Expo, also held in Indy after vacating Cincinnati for larger digs in 1998.

And it was that relocation decision that opened the door for Easyriders V-Twin Dealer Expo to move back in with a v-twin centric show of their own in 2000, held a week before Dealer Expo and next year celebrating their 10th anniversary as a trade show producer.

Five major shows covering powersports and motorsports between November and February. If you’re a powersports or motorsports or, worse, a cross channel dealer, be prepared to spend a lot more time on the road wearing out shoe leather and traversing TSA inspections.