Yamaha Rounds Bend

Marshall Having More Fun in Motorcycle Ads
LOS ANGELES–Marshall Advertising & Design pushes Yamaha into new creative territory with three very different TV spots for the company’s motorcycle division. Billings for the campaign are nearly $8 million.
One spot, “Big Stuff,” sees the traditionally conservative advertiser promoting its biggest bike, the Road Star cruiser, through comic exaggeration. The ad features a thirtysomething man living in a kind of pedestrian Wonderland where everything is hugely oversized. “It’s easy to spot someone who rides a Yamaha Road Star,” says a voiceover, as the guy drinks from a massive coffee mug and pets a monster of a dog.
“We’re trying to push [Yamaha] along in terms of creativity, and in terms of being a little more out there,” said Roger Feldman, associate creative director at the Newport Beach, Calif., agency.
A second spot, for the new YZF-R6, tries to break from the rock/punk/speed mold of sportsbike ads, using instead slow-motion racing shots and operatic music. The third ad, touting a price promotion for the V Star cruiser, uses hazy, ’50s-looking footage of kids on bicycles to tempt baby boomers to return to “when ice cream cost a dime, and your best friend and your bike were all that mattered.” The V Star spot includes a cameo by Yamaha president Jim Gentz as the ice cream man.
The Cypress, Calif.-based client in the past has done “pretty safe, product-focused ads,” Feldman said. “But it’s not a category that should really have conservative advertising.”
The TV spots broke this month and will air through May. Supporting print ads, which are more traditional in tone, will run mainly in enthusiast titles through July.