Gregg Bagni, the company's energetic VP-marketing who commutes via a new-model Schwinn, has helped reposition the marketer's image and broaden its appeal beyond hard-core biking fanatics.
After a major corporate restructuring earlier this decade, Schwinn was able to win over the opinion leaders-biking fanatics and bike-shop employees-with new products and provocative ad taglines such as "Cars suck." Sales results of bikes in the $300 to $500 range and the $1,500 to $5,000 range looked good, says Mr. Bagni.
However, he says, "we realized we had to fill the gap in the $500 to $1,000 range."
The target group for that range is what Mr. Bagni, stealing an Elmer Fudd pronunciation, calls the "feewings" group.
Beginning last fall, their newest campaign, from Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, targeted affluent, image-conscious 28-to-42 year-old males with active lifestyles who can be swayed by opinion leaders' recommendations.
Moving away from biking titles, the new ads are appearing in mainstream fitness magazine such as Men's Health and Outside.
"We're trying to stop readers dead in their tracks," says Mr. Bagni.
The marketer is certainly stopping them at retail. Sales of bikes priced between $500 and $1,000 jumped 28% in 1996, and total company sales rose 22%.