Marketing trade magazine MediaPost writes about Piaggio’s marketing plan for the MP3 in the U.S.:
Paolo Timoni, president and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas, â€¦ said the bike/trike targets urban and suburban commuters worried about global warming, gasoline prices and gridlock.
The approach isn’t new to Piaggio sibling Vespa, which has for the past two years been trumpeting its scooters as green machines in urban centers through mass transit poster ads promoting the iconic two-wheelers as gasoline and time savers in U.S. cities.
Timoni said that the company ran a study prior to launching MP3, based on a hypothetical situation in which 20% of car volume in New York City was replaced by scooters. “We learned that each of those drivers would save ten days a year,” he said.
Marketing for the vehicle will launch this spring when Piaggio runs a national road show taking the three-wheeled vehicle to cities, and a national open house at dealerships, talking up the environmental friendliness, savings and practicality of the vehicle. “We will run a traditional print push later in the year,” Timoni said.
So basically nothing new, he’s rehashing the Vespanomics/Vespetition screed. It’s a reasonable tactic on one hand, but there are very good arguments both for and against scooters in those regards. In any case, gas prices appear to be coming down, and the fickle American public will (sadly) soon hop off the environmental bandwagon, so their economy-based message may turn out to be just as futile as their luxury-based attempt. (Remember a few years ago when Vespa scooters were luxurious?)
Timoni also glosses over the fact that, publicly anyway, the MP3 doesn’t even have a name in America. Pre-launch marketing seems a waste of time when they can’t even connect it to the actual branding of the product. There’s a good buzz going on the MP3 now, but will that translate to brand recognition when it finally appears? (Wasn’t that supposed to be in December?) “MP3” was a horrible naming choice in the first place by the Italians, but does it make sense to leave it nameless until a week before it hits showroom floors? If so, why hype it at all, until then? And has anyone seen the cited Vespa “mass transit poster ads” in the U.S., let alone print advertising outside scooter publications? Sure, there’s been local, dealer-driven print advertising, but not much else.
I hope the MP3 (I feel dumb even calling it that, maybe I should go back to “X3“?) is the second coming of scooters in America. I hope Piaggio has a great name and a big, impressive, national media blast ready to go, and that bikes and spares flood into (and out of) dealer showrooms without a hitch. I hope Piaggio makes me regret my lack of faith in their marketing department. The MP3 is a truly original and exciting scooter, with merits well beyond the economic, environmental, and newbie-friendliness, and I hope Piaggio makes the most of this opportunity.