As PR agency of record for Piaggio USA, manufacturer of the iconic Vespa® motor scooter and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, our first mandate was to launch the newest LX scooter line to the consumer and dealer markets with panache. Yet CooperKatz was also tasked with bolder brand mandate: persuading Americans of the economic and environmental benefits of two wheel transportation. This challenge inspired us to conceive and launch the award-winning campaign, “Vespanomics.”
In forging our strategy, we needed to appeal to both lovers of Italian design and pragmatists alike, with approaches that balanced “Roman Holiday” with “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
We developed the “Vespanomics” concept as a multi-faceted and highly-integrated campaign. This included the Piaggio CEO presenting at the U.S. Conference of Mayors; a “gas prices news bureau” capitalizing on the summer price spike and associated media interest; a “Vespanomics” microsite packed with insights and information; and intensive influencer engagement among celebrities and devoted scooter communities in major markets like New York City and Los Angeles.
In the brand’s boldest thought leadership foray, we drafted a full-page “open letter” advertisement to U.S. mayors from Piaggio North America’s CEO, placed prominently in the New York Times. This letter urged mayors to help America reduce oil dependence, lessen CO2 emissions, improve transportation congestion and help people save money by making cities more “scooter friendly.” To back this up, we worked with top urban planning experts to commission a congestion study and white paper, exploring how increases in two-wheel transportation would positively impact parking and traffic flow, to help cities operate more efficiently and economically.
On the product showcase side, our work included a “Vesparade” through the heart of Times Square (temporarily closed to traffic for the occasion!); renting a pier on Manhattan’s West side to offer journalists test rides; creating an innovative “curbside” briefing approach for consumer magazines; and managing Vespa loaners among top tastemakers to showcase the two-wheel lifestyle.
“Vespanomics” not only generated awareness through millions of audience impressions. It also fueled true bottom line benefit. In one year’s time, online traffic grew by more than 100 percent per month and Vespa experienced a 20 percent increase in U.S. scooter sales nationwide. CooperKatz was awarded a SABRE Certificate of Excellence for our work on the “Vespanomics” campaign.