Bicycle Helmets With an Attitude

Bell bicycle helmets are not your father’s headgear.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s new print work for Santa Cruz, Calif.-based client capitalizes on Bell’s 50-year history as a manufacturer of helmets worn by high testosterone types like race car drivers and fighter pilots.

Ads break in cycling publications including Mountain Bike andBicycling next month.

Media spending will be less than $1 million.

“If you look at the helmet category, the competition is talking about design and beauty,” said agency art director Paul Stechschulte. “Our approach is: ‘This is the helmet that embodies the spirit of the American Cowboy attitude.’ “

Extreme attitude defines the helmet ads, one of which depicts a mountain biker about to descend a treacherous, rocky slope. “It’s what separates the men from the organ donors,” screams the headline.

Another ad, showing a backyard daredevil launching himself over a row of desks, is headlined, “Four words that launched a company: “Hey, y’all watch this.”

Over the last few years, mass market leader Bell has beenlosing ground to its own subsidiary, Giro, particularly among serious riders and at boutique bicycle shops, a trend CP+B is looking to reverse.

“These ads grew out of the notion that Americans don’t hold back,” said Ari Merkin the copywriter who worked on the campaign. “We make the jump, even if there’s a slim chance of our making it.”

That notion explains why that renowned risk taker, Evel Knievel, may appear in Bell’s upcoming ad executions.