Spyder: You Just Might Need This The Most Least


Who needs a three-wheeled open-air roadster? You do. Or you may decide you do after you see a Spyder, made by Canada-based Can-Am, a division of Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), known for Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, Evinrude motors, and ATVs.

Although it introduced the Spyder in test markets in the U.S. in late 2007, Can-Am is just now launching a marketing campaign that comprises print, outdoor, TV, point-of-purchase and interactive elements. The effort, via Chicago-based Cramer-Krassalt, touts the machine as--to paraphrase--the thing you most need among things you need the least.

One might cast a jaundiced eye on the chances these days for a $16,000 recreational vehicle in a market that is likely to spurn it as a frivolity in hard times. But the agency went with a campaign that deals with the elephant in the room. "Of all the things you don't need, this is the one you need the most," says a headline.



Hitting Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Tampa Bay and Miami, the ad focuses on print, showing dramatic shots of the Spyder set on simple white backgrounds.

In addition to print, out-of-home and in-store materials, there will be a 30-second TV spot on cable driving viewers to Spyder's Comcast Video-On-Demand channel. The effort will also dovetail with local search and online advertising of the same theme and sponsorships.

Says Marc Lacroix, brand director for Spyder at Can-Am: "With such a new product we couldn't afford to be everywhere, so we chose key markets with lots of potential, with lots of motorcycle riding; research showed those markets are likely to be keen adopters of the Spyder." He says Southern California, for example, is the largest motorcycle market in North America and the only state where one can operate Spyder with an auto license.

"Awareness levels are extremely low, at less than 5% in North America, which is why we decided to focus on key markets, and heavy up in Florida and So Cal," he says. Earlier this month, Can-Am had a corporate presence at Bike Week in Daytona to promote Spyder. Lacroix says test rides sold out, with 970 people taking trial rides. "Every day we were fully booked by 10 a.m.," he says.

Buyers are coming from the power sports industry: ATV owners, personal watercraft, snowmobile owners, and motorcyclists. "More importantly, we see new people who have never owned a bike because of the freedom and exhilaration that Spyder can bring them as an open vehicle, but with the safety features of a convertible sports car."

Spyder is steered like a motorcycle. It has two wheels up front with a 60-inch stance, and safety features like a Bosch-developed vehicle-stability system, anti-lock brakes, traction control and dynamic power steering. Lacroix says the $16,000 price tag won't turn customers away because "it's a price very much in line with sport touring motorcycles."

There are 450 dealers selling them in the U.S. Last year, Can-Am sold over 4,500 units, "which exceeded our expectations," he says. "We are seeing continued signs of growth despite a tough economy."

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