I graduated with a degree in advertising. Some people I've told this to have smiled politely and said they didn't even know it was possible to get a college degree in that. Well, yes, I am here to tell you, it is possible. You'll recognize us because we're the ones who watch the Super Bowl to get to the ads. I've been passionate about the ad world ever since I was a little kid decorating my room not with posters of Kirk Cameron (I'm an 80s kid), but with my favorite ads ripped from magazines. Although I decided to forgo the field for various reasons after working as a copywriter for a brief time, the passion hasn't ever left me. That's why, when I saw this campaign, I couldn't resist sharing it with you.
I fell in love with this campaign by The Ad Store in NYC, whose other headlines include "Relieve Gas Pains" and "Don't Be a Gas-Hole." The campaign came out in late 2005, and I find it interesting how Vespa (Italian for "wasp") is trying to sell to the US market. Do you think that this could be successful? Taking the tactic of pitching the Vespa as an alternative to high gas prices? I like the idea, but I am wondering if it's practical or not. Would your average American buy a Vespa, and is the average American commute suitable for a scooter?
Average, of course, is a term up for wide interpretation. The campaign is most likely targeted just at New Yorkers, and in fact, in this op-ed piece from the New York Times that I found on the Vespaway blog, it seems like New Yorkers are jumping on the wasp, but running up against some growing pains as they try to enter into the US city mainstream. And what age range is your typical Vespa buyer? An article from Business Week in October 2005 says that although Piaggio, Vespa's manufacturer, thought the Vespa would appeal mainly to a 20-something crowd, it turns out that over a quarter of the US market is made up by consumers age 50 and over.
Here in Rome, the Vespa really is an alternative to high gas prices and traffic jams, but it's a city scooter and can't go on the freeways. I read that they have come out with a large 250cc model, but at that point it's really not the traditional Vespa anymore, at least not in my mind, and is more of a motorcycle. The Wikipedia article has a long list of celebrity Vespa riders. I wonder if perhaps it isn't more of a trendy thing in the US, some kind of status symbol. Do you think the Vespa might ever really break past the barrier of a novelty item in the States, and go mainstream? Is it a solution to fighting high gas prices? If you don't live in the US or Italy, what's the Vespa situation like in your country?