Rayovac's flashlight line hitches a ride with Harley

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Call them hog lights.

Rayovac Corp. is dressing a new flashlight line in chrome and leather in a tie-in with motorcycle marketer Harley-Davidson. The first national TV spot for the products breaks today on cable TV.

The co-branding partnership with Harley "gave us an opportunity to come up with an idea that really leveraged [Harley-Davidson's] equity," said Peter Steel, director of marketing for lighting products at Rayovac. Harley worked with Rayovac to refine the products, concepts and packaging, and "they found something in our idea that really captured the spirit and the image of Harley -- the whole concept of chrome and leather," he said.

The four flashlights in the line -- a powerful, two D-battery light; a slightly less powerful two C-battery version; a smaller two AA-battery light that fits into a holster and can be fastened to a belt; and a very small two AAA-battery key-chain light -- have leather wrapped around the barrels. Prices range from $19.99 to $8.99, depending on the model. "We wanted to take the image and icon of Harley-Davidson and match it up with Rayovac," said John Daggett, director of marketing services at Rayovac. The products hit shelves in April at hardware stores and retailers including Sears, Roebuck & Co., Target Stores and Wal-Mart Stores.


Rayovac also created an exclusive line of flashlights that Harley sold in its retail outlets in the fourth quarter of 1999, timed to the holiday season. Because 50% of all flashlights are purchased as gifts, Mr. Daggett said the company geared the new TV push around Father's Day.

The spot, from Y&R Advertising, Chicago, will run through June nationally on cable networks such as Lifetime, TNN and the Weather Channel. "We're gearing to get the attention of women" looking for Father's Day gifts, Mr. Daggett said.

The 30-second spot flashes quick, close-up shots of different motorcycle parts -- wheels, seats, leather handles -- as hard rock music plays in the background. Words flash across the screen: "Chrome. Leather. And raw power. The American legend. Now available in handy travel size." Then a rough-sounding male voice-over says, "The Harley-Davidson flashlight. Fire one up for Father's Day." The spot ends as the camera pulls back to reveal the flashlights, along with the Harley and Rayovac logos.

"[The spot] is sexy and interesting to look at. The bikes are almost like art in a sense, and we wanted to capitalize on the inherent beauty and quality of Harley-Davidson motorcycles," said Tim Pretzsch, senior VP-group account director at Y&R. "The creative leverages the imagery, styling and design of the motorcycle and the flashlight."


Mr. Daggett said the spot marks Rayovac's first TV effort for flashlights, which account for about 15% of the company's total business. Batteries account for the remainder and receive most of the marketing support.

In 1999, Rayovac spent $12.3 million in measured media -- all on batteries -- according to Competitive Media Reporting. Michael Jordan is the spokesman for its alkaline batteries, which contribute 50% of Rayovac's total sales.

The new spot is "a big push to let everyone know that the flashlights are out there," Mr. Daggett said.

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