FCB Smells Fear in Competition

What’s that smell? Fear, according to Kawasaki Motors Corp., which is preparing to launch ads promoting its new Prairie 650 all-terrain vehicle.

Created by FCB in Irvine, Calif., a 30-second TV spot focuses on the power of the Prairie 650, which Kawasaki claims is the first ATV to feature a V-Twin engine.

The ad opens with a puddle in the forest and the ominous sound of an engine. As the Prairie 650 is shown whipping through the woods, a voice says: “That scent you’re picking up around other riders? It’s called fear.” According to the ad, the ATV is “bred to dominate” and is “pure muscle” that is “pumping loads of torque through its veins.”

“One of our main objectives was to present the ATV as the biggest, largest predator and dominator out there,” said FCB art director Brian Morgan. “The theme is domination over everything—domination over the competition, and over any challenge that comes to the 650.”

The “Dominator” spot uses Kawasaki’s corporate tagline, “Let the good times roll.”

Rather than featuring a “classic product shot in a nice, beautiful setting” or being “very heavily feature-oriented,” the Irvine-based client is trying to “play on the essence of the rider,” said agency account supervisor Chris Brull.

The rider is Bruce Penhall, a two-time world speedway champion and actor in the old TV series CHiPs.

“He’s an expert rider, and he made it look very effortless,” said Vince Iorio, national brand and marketing man ager for Kawasaki’s all-terrain vehicle/utility vehicle division.

The spot and print ads target outdoorsmen, hunters, farmers, sport riders and passionate adventurers.

The TV spot, which was shot in Big Basin State Park near Santa Cruz, Calif., will brak May 26 during Nascar Winston Cup racing on Fox, NBC and TBS, and outdoor and hunting shows on TNN and ESPN2. Print ads will run in ATV enthusiast magazines and elsewhere. Ads are running through early fall.

The Prairie 650 hits dealerships this week and retails at $6,999.