BMW contests offer free motorcycles

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BMW Motorcycles is offering a free ride in its latest promotion.

Three grand prizes of a $5,000 cycle trip await winners of the marketer's "Personal Motorcycle Ride Contest." BMW's aim is to connect with rider enthusiasts, tying its 2000 print campaign to a contest that asks for favorite cycle routes. In addition, the company is giving away five BMW R 1200 C motorcycles in an April contest via cable network Showtime.

Merkley Newman Harty, New York, created six page ads for the contest running in April magazines. The headline of one reads, "No one ever quit their job, bailed on their girlfriend and traveled halfway around the world to go bowling." Each ad is accompanied by one of three detachable inserts that detail an actual BMW rider's favorite road trips. The estimated $5 million print buy includes Cycle World, Motorcyclist and Rider, along with titles such as Esquire, Men's Journal, National Geographic Traveler and Playboy.

"The value of the campaign is that it captures the thoughts of motorcycle enthusiasts, making a direct link between riders and their experiences," said Ed Robinson, VP at BMW Motorcycles.


A good demographic fit helped lead to the Showtime giveaway. Karrie Martin, brand and event marketing manager at BMW Motorcycles, said "dot-com mania" has limited TV ad availability and hiked prices, prompting BMW to accept a promotional offer from Viacom's Showtime. she said.

Showtime expanded a 30-second Merkley Newman TV spot that ran in select markets last year into a :60 by adding details for a watch-and-win promotion. Every weekend in April, Showtime viewers can win the BMW motorcycle.

Ms. Martin estimated the Showtime deal gives BMW nearly $600,000 in media in exchange for providing the prizes and product placement. "We think the five weekends of viewing to win a BMW motorcycle is a great way to increase tune-in to Showtime," said Rick King, VP-promotions and partnership marketing at the network.

Overall, the industry through 1999 has ridden seven straight years of sales growth, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, a trade group. Although final 1999 sales aren't yet tallied, the group estimated a total 535,000 new cycles were sold last year.


American Honda Motorcycles remains the industry leader, according to the council with a 27% market share in 1998. Harley-Davidson was No. 2, with 26.2%; Yamaha No. 3, with 15.6%; Kawasaki No. 4, with 12.4%; Suzuki No. 5, with 12%; and BMW No. 6, with 1.7%.

Honda, meanwhile, is readying four new TV spots to break later this month, said Daniel Fujimori, national motorcycles advertising director. The commercials, from Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles, target enthusiasts and feature Honda racing riders in slow-motion. The brand's new theme, "Performance first," is already being used in print. Its Rubicon all-terrain model launches in September.

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