Mac versus PC Guy. FedEx versus UPS. Mini versus Porsche. Hyundai versus Mini. Social media and Web marketing have, in some quarters, come to resemble Fight Night Live at Club Nokia with various corporate teams squaring off against each other for low-budget, four-round, non-title matches. "Let's get ready to Ru-u-u-u-u ..." (wait, I can't say that or Michael Buffer will sue me).
In the latest example of one brand punking another, Piaggio's sport-bike division Aprilia has launched the first of three videos on its YouTube channel that make fun of BMW Motorrad USA's series of YouTube films that show BMW motorcycles doing tricks. BMW's film, which launched back in March, shows a BMW S1000RR offering a new take on the tablecloth trick, wherein the performer pulls the tablecloth out from under a dinner setting.
In this case the dinner setting is on a long, rectangular table set for maybe 25 -- complete with crystal, wine, china and silverware. Grips grab a couple of lanyards tied to the tablecloth, hook them to the S1000RR and the rider revs up and takes off. Amazingly, not a goblet topples. The bike zooms around the warehouse in which the video was shot, trailing the tablecloth like a banner.
In the Aprilia version, which launched last week (via TangentVector Productions), an Aprilia RSV4 motorcycle rolls into a dingy garage where a table for six is set on white linen. The bike gets hooked up, and as in the BMW spot, takes off. But the Aprilia fails, pulling half the dishes off the table. Then a super comes up: "Tricks are not our talent ..." That's followed by footage of Aprilia racing bikes winning Moto GP events. "... winning is our talent." says the super. The video has been seen about 102,000 times, per the site.
Melissa MacCaull, director of marketing at Aprilia USA, tells Marketing Daily that last year's launch of the Aprilia RSV4 started with efforts that included a "Ride Like a Champion" tour for dealers. "We started that in late April and are in major markets from coast to coast this summer," she says, adding that dealers host customer events like open houses and RSV4 demo rides.
But she says the company also wanted to make an emotional connection. "As you might imagine, traditional brand advertising is a very high-cost proposition, especially for a niche consumer product like an Italian sport bike. So, we decided to really drill down to the attributes that define the Aprilia brand and also tie in our recent racing successes in the World Superbike Series, where our factory team is getting familiar with the winner's podium. Social media was the natural choice for our message ... and was a great addition to our new YouTube channel."
The video was a collaboration between Aprilia USA, Wes Siler from Hell for Leather and J.F. Musial from TangentVector. "We're looking forward to debuting two additional videos over the next few weeks and any additional brand campaigns will definitely be focused on social marketing versus digital or traditional advertising," says MacCaull.
Aprilia's market share through May 2010 was 0.3%, per MacCaull. "We have plenty of opportunity to grow and educate more riders about the brand and the product. We're very pragmatic, though. Aprilia will always be a connoisseur brand. We're not a mass marketer." In related and weirder news, it seems that the producers of the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz vehicle "Knight and Day" have messed with another Italian bike brand, Ducati. Ducati got product placement in the film, and indeed, the bike that Cruise and Diaz ride appears to be -- or is supposed to be -- a Ducati Hypermotard. And the Ducati logo on the gas tank and exterior frame details suggests as much. Except it's not a Ducati, according to Autoblog.com, but an Aprilia SXV.