FCB, Marshall Make Same Turn

Competing Ads for Kawasaki, Yamaha Bikes Offer Similar Feel
LOS ANGELES–New TV ads for rival Kawasaki and Yamaha sport bikes use similar stylistic approaches to reach men 19-35.
The 30-second spots–one from FCB Worldwide for Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX12R, and the other from Marshall Advertising and Design for Yamaha’s R1–both employ electronic music, trippy visual effects and a futuristic look and feel.
Both agencies are based in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The Yamaha ad, part of a $6 million campaign touting the company’s 2000 models, began airing last week. The Kawasaki spot broke March 11. Spending on that campaign was undisclosed.
Roger Feldman, associate creative director at Marshall, said the commercials are likely to air close to one another on the same channels. The media buys, which the respective agencies handled, emphasize cable programming on networks such as ESPN and ESPN2.
The Yamaha ad begins with an image of the R1 reflected first in the eye of a rider and then in his helmet visor. Superimposed copy reads, “In the blink of an eye, we’ve changed the sportbike world. Again.” The rider then goes for a hair-raising spin on a track.
Kawasaki’s Ninja spot follows a mysterious helmeted rider, clad in biking leathers, who is shown in various urban settings silently awaiting the motorcycle’s arrival.
Directed by Meiert Lane of Windmill Lane Productions, the spot doesn’t reveal the bike until the end, and even then it remains stationary. (Ads cannot show bikes in motion unless they are on a closed track.)
“We figured, ‘Hey, what if we don’t even show a guy riding this thing?’ ” said FCB senior art director Dan O’Brien.
The creative team at Marshall and the spot’s director, Jeff Zwart of @radical.media, said they had no idea what their rivals at FCB were up to.
“I think the spots are pretty different. Ours focuses a lot more on the performance of the bike,” Feldman said.