Converting Britain’s bikers to The Dark Side…

Yamaha shook up the world of motorcycling at last years Motorcycle Live! show, with the launch of multiple brand new models, spearheaded by the MT – a revolutionary new range featuring compact new chassis designs and super high-torque 3-cylinder engines.

More than just heralding a new era in motorcycle design and development, MT was the jumping off point for a whole new market positioning for the Yamaha brand – one which UK Marketing Manager Jeff Turner was keen for as many riders as possible to experience for themselves.

“Having the ‘full Yamaha experience’ was central to the brief” said WDA’s Lee Waterhouse. Yamaha wanted riders not just to see – but smell, hear and feel the new bikes. To experience them at their maximum potential, to ride them for themselves; to really engage with the brand and the new bikes. This was as much about changing perceptions of the Yamaha brand as showcasing the exciting new bikes coming through. ”

Jeff wanted both riders already loyal to the brand, and also riders who may not have considered a Yamaha before – to really get to grips with the new bikes. To do so meant targeting riders who may not have seen the new bikes at the show or visited Yamaha showrooms.

Dark Side of Japan

Yamaha’s ‘Dark Side of Japan’ concept was devised to position the brand as a new, edgier and more distinct proposition to riders already aware of the brand’s reputation for market leading technology, build quality and reliability but who had started to look at more unconventional, supposedly more ‘exciting’ machines offered by some of the European manufacturers.

Dark Side is a bold and radical move from a brand often considered as conventional, safe and conservative. A positive step away from its status as just one of the Japanese ‘Big Four’; the company now offers all those great benefits associated with being such a large, established manufacturer – whilst now developing and delivering bikes which are arguably the most interesting, exciting, individual machines – from ANY manufacturer.

MT Tour 2014

WDA assisted Yamaha in creating ‘The Dark Side MT Tour’ –  a revolutionary new tour event where riders could ‘Find and experience their Dark Side’ on their ideal MT bike, whilst also enjoying a whole host of other fantastic biking experiences including Dave Coates famous Stunt Show, test rides, an MT extreme wheelie machine, partner exhibitions, demonstrations, and VIP guest appearances.

Central to each event was a fully branded MT Tour Truck which transported an entire fleet of MT machines, covering every model within the range from the ultra-cool new MT-125 through the awesome MT-07 to the simply stunning new MT-09 ST (Street Rally).

Completely FREE to attend the tour covered five major UK cities across the UK during this summer, included biking favourites Box Hill, the National Motorcycle Museum and the Scottish Motorcycle Show.

The Tour represented a considerable investment to our client, so it was critical that the promotional campaign drove significant traffic to each event to ensure a good marketing return both in visitors buy-in to the campaign (with good numbers being picked up by the attending dealers), and also creating enough noise to generate good publicity and press coverage.

Promotions revolved around a digital campaign on Visordown consisting a whole range of different inventory including Geo targeted Home page takeovers (serving to viewers within a 50 mile radius of each event), targeted search lock outs, and sponsored digital content (newsletters and stories). The digital campaign program was designed, implemented and managed by WDA including media negotiation and purchase.

Digital was supported by press with full and half page ad executions placed within every major motorcycle specialist print title. Additionally WDA created in-store dealer promotional materials, as well as branded collateral for the Tour events themselves.

Significant sales increases

This years MT Tour event helped drive significant demand for Yamaha and in particular the MT range, so much so that the tour has now been extended to include this years Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham in from November 22 to 30. Moreover, the stage is now set for more important Yamaha launches, not least the eagerly anticipated all new R1, which was unveiled at Eicma this week.

Latest figures* now place Yamaha at the very top of the manufacturers charts in terms of sales increase (up 18%); and up into second place in terms of total units sold. *Latest available sales figures at the time this post was published (September 2014 compared to the same period in the previous year). Figures supplied by the Motor Cycle Industry Association.

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