Sunday, April 18, 2010

Schwinn Pops Kickstand On $5 Million Campaign

Another good case study that highlights what we've been discussing in class.  "A Major retail rethink for Schwinn....."  

What marketing students should notice is that social media is now part of the Integrated Marketing Plan...including print, TV, Internet banners, and a new website.  The target is women 25-54.  Should Schwinn be including mommy, daddy, and parent bloggers?

Once upon a time, Schwinn pretty much owned the American bicycle market and, with models like Varsity, Continental, and of course, the Paramount, defined American-made bicycling dominance. But that was back when a carbon frame was something you made with a pencil, and brands like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale and Giant had not climbed onto retail bike racks.
Now owned by Montreal-based Dorel Industries and still major player in the non-fanatic market, Schwinn is hoping to get its brand mojo in high gear with a new campaign aimed squarely at a vast consumer base of recreational riders: people who aren't quite ready to drop six grand on a U.S. Postal Service Lance Armstrong-signature road rocket you can lift with your pinky.
The $5 million-plus marketing push -- Schwinn's largest in at least a decade -- includes TV, print, Internet banners, a new Web site (, social media, and a major retail rethink for Schwinn's big-box and independent bike shop retailers, based on the idea that a forest of bicycles on store racks does not a brand make.
Creative, via Cossette New York, carries a whimsical, nostalgic message about how Schwinn bikes are a way to step out of the rat race, slow down and smell the bitumen. The print and TV ads hearken back to Schwinn's heyday, when kids played in the real -- instead of virtual -- world, and bikes could double as Abrams tanks, except for the little handlebar bell, which, in fact, is the central image in the campaign.
Andy Coccari, CMO of Dorel's Cycling Sports Group division, tells Marketing Daily that the ad push is focused on women 25 to 54 because, "while purchase decision and ability to really connect with family aren't feelings exclusive to women, women are the chief purchasing officer of the family."
Ads will appear in pubs like Family Fun, Parenting, Shape and Working Mother. The TV spot, starting this week, runs for the rest of the year on national cable TV. Digital strategies include display, search and social media. There will also be tent events and local media.
In the TV spot a young woman rides her Schwinn down a street. When she passes a young boy in his yard, glued to his DS game, she rings her bell. Magically, the video game is gone and he's playing on a tire swing. Then, on a city street, she passes a man yelling into his cell phone.
When she rings her bell again, his phone is gone and he's holding a cuddly Cavalier King Charles puppy-dog. Finally she passes a woman with her kids pushing a laden grocery cart toward a minivan in the parking lot of a big-box store. As the bell rings, the minivan turns into an ice cream truck.
"We are renovating the whole iconography and language of the brand, and also renovating the in-store experience," adds Coccari. "We have tried to focus the shopping experience on how consumers want to shop the category: we are creating environments in bike dealers as well as our large national chains with helmets, clothing, and clear information explaining our bikes to consumers; it's really focused on how they would like to shop, rather than how the industry looks at it, as bikes on racks." He says dealers will get point-of-sale materials and local market support, and subsidized co-op advertising.
Schwinn competes most directly with brands like Electra, Jamis, and Globe, per Coccari. "It's a saturated segment of the bicycle market, but Schwinn is number one, with 85% awareness in the U.S.," he says.

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