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Kawasaki and 'Lone Ranger' Ride Together in Multifaceted Campaign

Motorcycle brand also partners with Subway

Photo by Mirco Lazzari/Getty Images

If you've never throttled-up a dirt bike or a four-wheeler across an open terrain but have ridden a horse, well, they're similarly bumpy-but-fun experiences. So Kawasaki's new partnership with Disney's gallop-happy Lone Ranger flick—starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the masked man—to push the brand's motorcycles and off-road vehicles makes a bit of sense, doesn't it?

"It's actually a big step for us, stepping out with a tent-pole movie with Disney," Chris Brull, marketing director at Kawasaki, told Adweek. "Typically, we keep our promotions within the power-sport industry. Our bikes are normally driven by enthusiasts, whether it be two-wheelers or four-wheelers. With this campaign, we are associating with other premium brands. Simply, all of the people who buy our motor bikes also purchase movie tickets."

His San Diego-based company's integrated campaign debuts today. But interestingly, the Disney deal involves a third partner, Subway, which will adorn its point-of-sale counters and windows with the Kawasaki and Lone Ranger brands in its 26,000 stores nationwide while leading up to the movie's July 3 release date. Additionally, Kawasaki and the film will appear via the quick-serve sandwich chain's TV and digital advertising.

"We are working very closely with Subway," Brull explained. "About 34 million head into those stores during a week—so that definitely made sense from a business standpoint."

In an effort led by Chicago-based agency Tris3ct, 30-second TV spots will run during live sports on CBS and NBC, as well as ESPN and ESPN2, highlighting Kawasaki's Ninja bike, KX dirt bike and Teryx4 off-road vehicle. The commercials will live online, too, along with a Web-only teaser video. The campaign involves 15-second pre-roll promos and companion display ads on various publisher sites. Local radio inventory is also being purchased, while print ads are running in Cycle World and Off-Road Adventure magazines.

A text-and-win mobile sweepstakes will be in play, offering 500 free Lone Ranger tickets. And a grand prize winner—who gets a Teryx4—will be announced in the coming weeks on Good Morning America while getting pushed at GMA.Yahoo.com. Subway will promote the sweeps as well.

Meanwhile, Brull said his brand syncs up with the movie on multiple levels. "Our products align well with that Johnny Depp swagger," he said. "There's an outdoors-lifestyle element that registers, too."

Speaking of outside, with a Lone Ranger campaign that essentially began during Super Bowl season, one should probably expect "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" to be yelled much more often than usual from the park playgrounds and front yards of America this summer. 

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