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Buell Is High on Low Financing

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Buell Motorcycle at-tempts to get a head start on its competitors with a low-interest promotion to kick off the new year.

Laughlin/Constable in Milwaukee touts Buell's 0.9 percent financing offer in print ads employing yellow-and-black artwork that was unveiled earlier this year as part of the brand's new look, said agency account supervisor Paul Barthelmey.

The ads break this week in January issues of motorcycle enthusiast magazines. January is not a hot month for motorcycle sales, but Buell, a division of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, looks for any edge it can get against larger Japanese competitors in the sports-bike category, Barthelmey said.

Buell early this year introduced two new models, the Firebolt XB9R and the Lightning XB9S, which retail in the $10,000 range, to go with its lower-priced Blast model.

The product launches were backed by a campaign from L/C that departed from past efforts, with an attempt to be more in your face through sharper graphics and the yellow-and-black motif, Bar-thelmey said.

Buell's purported point of difference to competitors is that it handles better and is better designed, without the unnecessary racing frills rivals add to their so-called "go-fast" units, Barthelmey said.

"Buell focuses on the riding experience, the exceptional handling," he said. "You own the most challenging part of the road, the curves."

L/C's spring campaign continued a slightly risqué theme aimed at thrill seekers from earlier work. "Try something new that doesn't involve handcuffs," read the headline for one ad.

One of the new print executions shows a motorcyclist on a Buell leaning into a curve below the headline, "Break the status quo. Not the bank."

The advertising continues the tagline, "Different in every sense."

Buell spends an estimated $1 million annually on advertising. L/C did some 15-second television spots for ESPN earlier this year, which simply offered positive press reviews about the new Buell models.