Sixty Years On, Vespa’s Still Revving Up Our Engines

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When you read “Still Sexy at Sixty”, a few things come to mind: Bea Arthur twenty years ago, Angelina Jolie thirty years from now, or the classic and the always-hot ’46 Packard Clipper today. In any case, what you may not guess right off the bat is that one of Italy’s favorite two-wheelers, the Vespa, has reached this ripe, yet still vibrant age group.

And just to cement its hip factor, the mod-friendly scooter’s Pisa-based manufacturer Piaggio announced last week that it’s enlisted the services of UK agency New Media Maze to create an online viral campaign that will help drive traffic for the Vespa LX as part of its marketing drive. “We were brainstorming ways of communicating the fact that the Vespa LX is still sexy at sixty,” Dave Smith, Managing Director of New Media Maze tells ADOTAS. “One of the themes we explored was the Kama Sutra, and one of our creatives changed that to Kama Scooter. Whilst we presented several ideas to the client, we knew immediately that Kama Scooter would win out.”

Smith describes the microsite setup, saying, “The web site contains an interactive book detailing 9 new sexy positions involving the Vespa LX. Visitors to the site read about the positions in the book, and then watch a short video clip featuring two gorgeous catwalk models enacting each position.” He adds, “The videos are all very erotic but work safe, so we’re already seeing a huge viral spread as men send it to each other.”

Oddly enough, however, the site neglected to include the classic “Send to a Friend” form because as Smith explains, it doesn’t need it. The site also lacks any real interactivity apart from mini video clips—filmed by Studio Film—of two models on fairly visible strings and studio fans blowing their hair working the hot for each other, girl-on-girl style. Call me a tough critic, but while they may be two attractive women playing the interchangeable roles of pleasured and pleasurer, it certainly doesn’t mean the viewer has to buy their acting skills.

But given the 16+ male demographic this campaign hopes to reach and the ‘sex sells’ motif, it’s hard to imagine they give a hoot about any Oscar nomination. And while the puppet strings may be as effective as those in N’Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” video, Smith spreads only good words about the feedback they’ve been getting over the last week.

“We love it, the client loves it, and we’ve had amazing feedback from our peers,” he says. “In terms of feedback from the general public it’s been mixed, with about 95% loving it and 5% not. The Vespa brand is a highly emotive one, and existing customers tend to care dearly about it and can have very fixed views on how it should be represented. As such, there’s been massive debate in blogs and forums around the world about the merits of the campaign.

Smith adds, “We’re obviously delighted to have created something that not only is viral but has kicked off huge traditional ‘word of mouth’ at the same time. Stats-wise, we’ve clocked up just over 130,000 uniques since launch and we’re expecting that to grow exponentially in the coming weeks.”

But given that they’re not running ads to get the word out, this should be an interesting test for word-of-mouth marketing. We’re just glad they didn’t hire the Golden Girls for the roles, even if Bea can still hang with the big boys…er…women.

As Smith eloquently summarizes, “I’ve been dying to see sexy women flying around on wires and getting off with each other, and now I’ve fulfilled that fantasy. Thank you Piaggio, we’re confident this will ‘take off’ on the net”.”

No, thank you.

Scope the new Vespa LX, or just two women on strings with feathers at: www.kamascooter.com.

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