Salton signs Snoop to hype scooter with hip-hop flavor

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Salton, the company that struck gold with the George Foreman Grill, is now launching WRFF (Walk Run Fly Faster)-a combination bicycle, scooter and skateboard-and has enlisted rap star Snoop Dogg to generate buzz.

The multimedia hip-hop personality is appearing in a WRFF (pronounced "riff") commercial breaking in June and directed by Hype Williams. Salton also plans to release a customized line of Snoop WRFFs by Christmas.

"Our whole strategy is urban to suburban. We're saying that as a kid, if you BMX or skateboard, you're gonna like WRFF, too. It's extreme and different so we wanted to go with this hip-hop approach," said John Howell, WRFF marketing manager at Salton. The core target market for WRFF is kids 12 to 16 years old. The product will retail between $150 and $300.

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The relationship was originally struck when Salton came on board as the title sponsor of Project Revolution, a tour this summer with Linkin Park, Korn and Snoop Dogg. "The reason we did this is that Snoop really wants to be in a bigger business with the Salton folks. Their track record with George Foreman is enticing," said Constance Schwartz, VP-strategic marketing for The Firm, Snoop's management company. "We took a reduced rate so that we could have equity with possible royalties."

In fact, the rapper and his team at The Firm are so enamored of the back-end possibilities reaped with the George Foreman blueprint that they've initiated discussions with Salton on the idea of a Snoop Dog barbecue grill. Mr. Howell said he'll see how well Snoop is received in the advertising before exploring any further partnerships.

Snoop Dogg has a busy summer ahead. Not only is he starring in the feature film "Starsky & Hutch" but "213," a CD marking the collaboration of Nate Dogg, Warren G. and Snoop drops in July, followed by his solo record in October. He also has a fall TV project that he's prepping for MTV with the working title "Coach Snoop." It's a reality-show concept about the youth football team he coaches. Ms. Schwartz thinks the show would be an ideal product-integration opportunity for WRFF. This collaboration between the hip-hop world and corporate America follows the path tread by Heineken with Jay-Z and the Gap with Missy Elliott.

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