A DISRUPTION CASE STUDY
Making Kawasaki Relevant
[Cannes Lions 2002 Finalist (TV), Clio Awards 2002 Finalist (TV), ADC Germany 2002 Bronze (TV), Eurobest Winner]
SUMMARY: Turned sales around in a declining market by breaking advertising convention and re-positioning Kawasaki as “The Green, Mean Machine”.
“Recessive market” and “Heavy Losses For Motorcycle Companies” were the headlines before work on this campaign began. Kawasaki’s advertising did not break through. The brand was not differentiated from other Japanese manufacturers, who were prizing rational attributes such as speed, handling and high-tech.
We stopped being a me-too brand and focused on the brand’s core. The company used to make airplanes for the Imperial Japanese Army and had gained a reputation for some of the most powerful engines on two wheels. Its motorclycles were called “Mean Streak” and “Ninja”. Kawasaki was seen by users as wild and untamed, simply on the edge. The Kawasaki experience was one of ferocious emotion, not rationality. We needed to bring to life the fierce warrior spirit and envisioned the bikes as “Motorcycling’s Last Samurais” – the most intimidating on earth evoking fear through its presence and performance.
Our positioning: The Green, Mean Machine.
Every piece of the campaign was to evoke the kind of fear that only those renowned warriors earned. The campaign was executed in TV, print, cinema, online and experiential.
The community loved the ads. Bloggers shared it, motorcycle magazines featured them on their sites. The brand became the subject of conversation in motorcycle chat rooms.
Awards: Cannes Lions 2002 Finalist (TV), Clio Awards 2002 Finalist (TV), ADC Germany 2002 Bronze (TV), Eurobest Winner