14 thoughts on “Ahhwwwwoooooooo?”

  1. I have completely given up hope for the powersports industry in the U.S. It is particularly clueless when it comes to marketing. This even beats Piaggio’s “win a pair of flip-flops and we’ll throw in a Vespa!” promotions. : P

    In the year 2050, motorcyclists will be extinct; scooters will all be electrics.

  2. How could we possibly compete with 2SB? :-D

    You’re just one of the many great sources we want to point to. Please keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. I think Mike from Alliance still reads this blog sometimes, hopefully he’ll see this, I just thought about this all night last night, it’s maddening. This is a great, user-friendly, non-douchebag motorcycle that could be marketed to anyone, it’s attractive, economical, pragmatic, fun to ride, and totally non-pretentious.

    That photo (Where the fuck is her left leg?) is just a total embarrassment. It’s tacky, offensive to women, and anyone who would look at that and be impressed are the same jags that think they need a 1800cc sportbike or cruiser, the type that ruin motorcycling for the rest of us.

    There’s nothing else out there like the Wolf, this was SYM/Aalliance’s chance to get smart, pragmatic people riding simple, quality, reasonable motorcycles, like the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” days, and they blew it big-time.

  4. what are you talking about? It is a great ad! Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Tesla meets the Wolfman (full moon). I like it. I will buy one after seeing this ad!

  5. Your right illnoise I still read the blogs and although you have the tongue of a drunken sailor we take your comments seriously and appreciate all feedback both good and bad. The Wolf Classic has been a huge success for us and due in large part that it’s a Great bike that has an appeal to both men and women and if we have offended anybody with our marketing it was never our intent, because you think it is offensive to All women is in my opinion absurd but again if any at all were offended at all I apologize. In this case maybe we did blow it you didn’t expect we would get everything perfect out of the gate did you?? Look for a different marketing approach in the near future for the Wolf Classic and thank you for your constructive criticism.

    Mike @ SYM

  6. Sorry I was to silly to proof read my own note it looks as if i had one to many “at all’s” in my statement!! Ride Safe!

  7. Thanks, Mike, I could have been more polite about it, sorry, but it’s just maddening to see anything with two wheels marketed to the same limited macho male market, especially when it’s a product I like a lot and think has a lot of potential. I hear dealers and importers and manufacturers complaining about the motorcycle market, and the problem is that no one should care AT ALL about the motorcycle market, it’s time to think of the entire consumer base of the US as potential customers. This ad would appeal to only the tiniest fraction of people that could conceivably be attracted to riding, and that fraction are people that wouldn’t be interested in a 150cc bike anyway. Ask any scooter dealer who’s selling scooters and ‘responsible’ motorcycles, it’s a few frat boys but it’s all colors and creeds of students, eco-liberals, empty-nesters, tons of gays and lesbians, lots of women, european, asian, and Indian ex-pats. Not everyone buying a scooter is looking for Audrey Hepburn chic, and not everyone buying a motorcycle is following MotoGP and watching American Chopper and getting 90s tribal tattoos. Genuine and Kymco do it right, though Kymco’s ads are bland.

    I told Cobra/Pierspeed this but they obviously have no interest in branding, the Asian thing is not always a curse, use it to your advantage. Taiwanese scooters have a fantastic reputation for quality and value among scooterists, and manufacturers should be bragging about that, not covering it up. People like authenticity and ethnicity. “TGB” is a generic, meaningless name, “Taiwan Golden Bee” is a beautifully awkward and memorable name, with a good simple retro-ish anime-type logo, it would become a standout in a sea of generic asian bikes with random letters on the front. Alliance Powersports and SYM are equally generic names and as you’ve surely found, it’s a hard sell when there are already well-known brands in the same market. You guys (as Lance) did a pretty decent job of branding, and I think abandoning SYM’s reputation would be a bad idea, but there’s a lot that could be done. Seriously, look hard at the “nicest people” honda campaigns, that’s the key to the next motorcycle boom, is to convince people that scooters and motorcycles ARE for everyone, despite Harley’s best efforts to make them seem exclusive.

  8. Bryan, I think the gap between what we see as sensible people and what the industry markets to could be more ‘our’ shortsightedness. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended the dealer show in Indy, but every year at the Motorcycle Expo I’m shocked by the proportion of the crowd that would probably respond to that ad. The majority are a fairly thoughtless bunch. The tribal tattoo/Harley set. They love the Kymco cruiser because it ‘looked like a harley’. They don’t stop at the booth with the idea in their head that it’s fun and sensible. They stop in wonder how a small engined bike can look like a big engine bike. That is the depth of their consideration. Not all, but I would confidently say ‘most’. This is the face of the buying public that the industry players like Mike see in their travels and dealings with other industry people. It’s probably not the face that they’d see at the top 10 Genuine dealers in the country.

    But I agree that it’s a mistake to market to that face that they’ve seen so far at the motorcycle shows. Clearly, these people have not been the source for ‘growth’ of the industry over the last 4 years. They are not buying. The market is shrinking. To grow the market they’ll have to look beyond the traditional chopper crowd. As you note, Honda had a good campaign in the past. But that’s Honda. They had the money to do it, the environment where it was appealing and the product to back it up. I doubt Alliance Powersports has those assets that Honda had back in the day. Thus given the resources at hand and the experience of the market in front of them at the motorcycle shows, I’d probably market misogyny as well. It’s a bet that I think will not succeed, but it’s still probably the lowest risk. I would just like to think the object is winning, rather than losing the least.

  9. Seriously, down here in central illinois if you aren’t on a harley people act as though you must be the poor daft cousin! I tell friends that I’m going to get either a scooter or small displacement motorcycle and because I’m a big guy the assumption is that the fear must have me. Very real image issues!

    Since gas is going to hit 5 bucks a gallon soon (and lets stop kidding ourselves) small displacement motors are an undeniable fact…even for Americans! Lets start this change off with some dignity…please.

    Really looking forward to seeing the next effort, I’m hoping for smart and cool this time. Carter couldn’t make it happen with one of the best products in rhe world. Is it really that hard to figure out?

  10. To their credit, I just checked and their ads and pdf brochures don’t seem to use that picture any more. And I like the brochures a lot. I could imagine them on glossy paper at a local dealer, bringing one home and looking it over for hours. Sadly, I don’t think dealers do that anymore. I know everyone is wired for paperless distribution, but we go to dealers to get the feel for things. I think that goes for product literature as well.

    That stated, I think the price point is still too high. If it were 2500.00 plus tax it would be in line with CPI adjusted costs of similar bikes 30 years ago. But with 2999.00 and certain dealer freight/prep/margin padding fees you know it will be 3500 before tax. That’s a bridge too far.

  11. Brooke, you’re right about dealer expo and the motorcycle shows, but (and you get to this) those aren’t the people ANYONE should be marketing to. Harley and cruisers and sportbikes have their own built-in audience through years and years of marketing and history.

    Anyone looking to change/improve/expand the powersports industry should be completely ignoring the powersports industry and targeting the public at large. I talk to people every day who, when they find out I have a scooter, say “oh, yeah, i’ve always wanted one of those,” but these are people that wouldn’t go to a motorcycle show in a million years, and probably wouldn’t even go in a motorcycle dealership. Even a friendly, scooter-only dealership like POC or Scooterville or Sportique is intimidating to a lot of people, scooterists are just as catty and ‘exclusive’ as other riders, in a lot of cases.

    The scooter market isn’t going anywhere, even in ‘boom’ years until scooter manufacturers get over the motorcycle industry and become their own industry. Yes, It’s gonna take a huge investment from the manufacturers (like the 60s Honda campaign), and I’d argue that 90% of the problem with scooters in america is that the manufacturers are hiding behind the importers so they can blame anyone but themselves for low sales. Harley and Honda and Yamaha own their distribution networks It’s time for scooter manufacturers to step up to the plate, do a little research into AMERICANS, (and spending a weekend a year with American MOTORCYCLISTS at Dealer Expo doesn’t count) and put some effort and money into marketing their bikes to the public at large, starting their own rider networks and offering top-notch national sales and support that puts motorcycle dealers to shame.

    The importers don’t have the money, but the manufacturers do. Until the manufacturers make a commitment to America (Piaggio is loaded with cash, and has been nothing but talk for more than a decade now), Scooters are never going to ‘take off.’

  12. And cost is nothing if the product and marketing are right. If you told me a few years ago I’d be spending $500 on a phone or a tablet computer, I’d thought you were crazy, but Apple makes products that are so compelling that people will pay just about anything for them. The scooter manufacturer that succeeds is not going to do it by putting out the cheapest bike. It’s not a vellum volume market. The winner’s going to win by putting out an undeniably awesome product full of new ideas and carefully designed to appeal to consumers. If they get the product and marketing right, and rise above the motorcycle industry’s baggage, they can charge whatever they like, it’ll sell.

  13. I don’t buy that argument that it will sell at any price. Besides the fact that I’ve yet to encounter one example of where the iOS paradigm translates to the success or failure in another market, the 500.00 range price point is completely different than the 1000.00+ plus price point. If that argument held up Apple would have a the PC market cornered as well. The truth is that people that want something will pay any price. The issue is getting more people to want something that they don’t currently want enough to be currently owning it.

    To stop using inappropriate market comparisons, common sense has nothing to do with the vast majority of motor vehicle purchases in the US, including motorcycles and scooters. So any goal of someone wanting to grow the market needs to either exploit some non-sensible motivation or to expand sensible thinking. One seems easier than the other.

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