Can Am Spyder “Need”

Yes, we’re in a period of austerity. But people still want to indulge themselves in small or big ways, and they’ll be receptive to ads that (in the right way) give them permission to do so. This ad for Can Am’s Spyder, via Cramer-Krasselt of Milwaukee, takes due note of the bad economy and people’s current disinclination to buy things they don’t need — for instance, $16,000 three-wheeled recreational roadsters. So, the brand doesn’t come off as oblivious, as could easily happen these days with an ad that introduces such a conspicuously inessential product. But it’s also true (as the ad suggests) that people have in their heads a hierarchy of the unnecessary items they want – some of which people may be prodded into regarding as items they almost need. The ad’s mixture of brashness and realism wouldn’t work for every product, but it seems in sync with the self-image of the people most likely to buy these things. I suspect those consumers will enjoy the implication that they remain undaunted while other consumers are running scared. Whether this will motivate them to go out and actually spend thousands of dollars on a souped-up tricycle remains to be seen, but the ad will at least get them daydreaming about the possibility of doing so. –Mark Dolliver