I followed the Laguna Seca MotoGP round from a distance, lurking on various motorcycle-racing web sites and, of course, getting an extra few pieces of motorcycle spam delivered via email, because it was a race weekend.
MotoGP is a big marketing opportunity and in the course of a few minutes last weekend, I experienced two epic marketing fails. The first came in the form of a photo on one of the popular racing news sites.
The photo was one of the
Honestly, Red Bull girls??? There are at least 20 Monster Energy trademarks or wordmarks visible in this image. Monster's marketing guys must be asking themselves, What would we have to do, in order to not just be slotted into the 'Red Bull' file in the caption-writer's brain? I'd like to think this was a joke, purposely punking Monster, but I doubt that the purveyor of this web site really wants to alienate one of the sport's biggest sponsors.
The thing is, although Monster totally dominates this one photo, the problem that it illustrates is paddock-wide, in the sense that the wild proliferation of logos at events like MotoGP (compare photos from today to photos taken even 20 years ago and you'll see what I mean) has created an environment so cluttered and chaotic that it's possible there isn't anything they can do to be memorable.
When everything's branded, nothing's branded.
Another brand that put a push on at Laguna Seca was Motus. They brought bikes out, which I learned because I got an email from them telling me that they brought bikes to Laguna Seca. It was an email that I opened, because I've been wondering what ever happened to those guys.
Sadly, I wasn't able to glean much from the email. Now, maybe I'm super-critical because I'm a copywriter and companies (admittedly bigger ones than Motus) pay me to write emails like this but I couldn't help but wonder... Who approved this copy?
I mean, come on. You spend what, tens of thousands of dollars going to Laguna Seca, and then you publish this? Read the FAQ section of the email...
Let's go through those questions again, one by one, and translate Motus' answers into plain English:
Q: Where can I see, test ride, and purchase a Motus MST or MST-R?
A: Yes, we have some dealers. But if you can you think of a shop near you that might be willing to take on a Motus franchise, please tell us. Ideally, we'd like you to convince them to take us on.
Q: What are the differences between the MST and the MST-R?
A: We refuse to tell you. Here's a list of ways they are the same. But, you can make them different with lots of options. Call us.
Q: What are the retail prices of the MST and MST-R?
A: MST models start at $30,975. MST-R prices start at... "Look! There goes Valentino Rossi!"
Q: Does Motus have plans for an adventure bike, street fighter, trike, hovercraft, or track car?
A: "Do you believe that Lorenzo and Pedrosa both rode with broken collarbones?"
Q: Can I buy a crate motor?
A: Yes, we're now taking reservations for motors that will be delivered in Spring 2013. (While we may or may not be planning to sell a hovercraft, we've obviously perfected a time machine that will allow us to go back in time at least a month or two, to Spring 2013, when we'll deliver your motor, in the past. So give us your deposit today, and tomorrow you'll open your workshop door to find your build-it-yourself project half-built. Bet you can't wait to see what you're doing with your motor.)
Honestly I wish Motus well. I really do. But what the fuck is the message they're sending with these non-answers? I suppose in Motus' limited defense, they do say that these are Frequently Asked Questions, not frequently answered ones.