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Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis

Schwinn Bicycles

Creative Director: Jack Supple

Creative Director/Copywriter: Kerry Casey

Art Director: Bob Brihn

Photographer: Mark Clifford

Just about anybody "can stick a bike on two pages of advertising and sell it into the marketing department," says Carmichael Lynch Creative Director/Copywriter Kerry Casey.

That's what Schwinn did with its Second Century campaign for high-end mountain bikes. But the fitness-product marketer did it with a brazen edge.

"This was the year where we dropped our pants and showed them," says Mr. Casey.

Headlines and intriguing side stories, featuring such unlikely visuals as bad boo-boos and caskets, dispensed with Schwinn's roller-coaster financial history with refreshing frankness.

The headline in one ad declares, "We fell. We got up. End of apology."

The campaign also featured a macho optimism that matches its target audience.

Copy claims being 100 years old is still young in bike years-"puberty, man," to be exact.

Art Director Bob Brihn describes the audience as "trailblazers" who seek unheard-of challenges and consider every scar a tattoo.

"You either win or crash, and those are two goals worth achieving. That's the mindset," he says.

"It's the same attitude the company has," he adds.

Although the Schwinn name may have not yet earned the cachet its owners seek, it's getting there.

So are sales of these "clean, wicked new products." The campaign sent them up 300% while the category remained flat.

Not bad for puberty, man.

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