Ducati Plays the Hero
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Ducati Plays the Hero

Since the year 2000 marked Ducati’s first venture into Entertainment Marketing, the Rogers & Cowan Entertainment Marketing team faced a number of challenges while tapping into the influential Hollywood market as a vehicle to reach the consumer segment.

Paul Holmes


Since the year 2000 marked Ducati’s first venture into Entertainment Marketing, the Rogers & Cowan Entertainment Marketing team faced a number of challenges while tapping into the influential Hollywood market as a vehicle to reach the consumer segment.  In the US, Ducati has only 4% of the motorcycle market, limited dealer networks, a higher average price than other motorcycles in the sport bike segment, as well as their corporate headquarters located in Bologna, Italy, it was imperative that specific strategies be created to insure success.  Competing against the apparent success of brands including Harley Davidson, Triumph and Augusta, we developed strong relationships with Ducati North America, based in New Jersey, to help facilitate this process.  Key opportunities included Ducati’s focus on service, technology, strong brand equity throughout Europe and the fierce loyalty of their consumer base. 




Working closely with the Ducati brand team, it was determined that the North American consumer was primarily Caucasian male between the ages of 24 to 45.  They are technically savvy with aspirations towards high-end goods and services.  Ducati research also uncovered that there needed to be a greater awareness within the United States market place among the female segment and within the cross-cultural markets.


Ducati holds the title of having the first motorcycle sold on the internet with it’s December 1999 launch of the MH900e, therefore it was determined that the internet needed to be a part of the Entertainment Marketing strategy.


Informal surveys were conducted with key dealers to determine their strength and willingness to assist with both service and production needs in their local communities.




  • Develop greater brand awareness for both Ducati and of their motorcycles within North America and increase sales. 
  • Reinforce Ducati’s focus on high-performance and design
  • Develop a network of influentials
  • Utilizing this first year as an opportunity to create case studies and service examples, and develop and maximize key relationships that would be used to leverage placements and exposure in upcoming projects.




Maximizing the integration between product placement, public relations and promotions, core objectives were developed which could be influenced through Entertainment Marketing.  Tapping into Rogers & Cowan’s 50 years of experience within the Hollywood community, we developed target lists of talent – including film, television and music – production executives, transportation executives, stunt men and other influentials within the entertainment industry, who were either known motorcycle enthusiasts or, based on their character portrayals, could be influential within this segment.  Based on television show profiles, as well as major studio scripts, target projects were developed which would attract the core audience as well as showcase the key elements – technology and design – of the motorcycles.  Additionally, Rogers & Cowan looked to broader opportunities including music and special events that would support the Ducati image.  Building relationships with the local dealer network, we were able to further define and create advocacy with key influentials who had recently purchased Ducati’s.


Tapping into internet promotions, we worked closely with studio promotion divisions to uncover any internet sweepstakes opportunities that could be tied back to placements within a show while supplying story-points for possible public relations overlays.




With a focus on overall Entertainment Marketing, Rogers & Cowan negotiated for key exposure in high-profile projects including “VIP,” “MTV’s Senseless Acts of Video,” “The Matrix II,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Blade II” and “Rollerball.”  Exposure within “VIP” and MTV included internet overlays which offered links to the Ducati site.  In conjunction with the November television sweeps, “VIP” – which has strong Ducati presence – instituted a ratings campaign including on-line chat and sweepstakes with AOL, E!, Sony, TV Guide and Sports Illustrated.  Rogers & Cowan negotiated Ducati’s inclusion in these elements along with exposure in the television spots promoting the sweepstakes.


Ducati’s status as the “hero” bike in the upcoming “The Matrix II” will also provide story-points for the consumer and trade press.  Working with known celebrity motorcycle enthusiasts, these relationship were leveraged to gain exposure with Tom Cruise and Paramount’s “Vanilla Sky” and Wesley Snipes in the New Line release “Blade II.”  In both instances, the actors are Ducati owners which helped to influence the transportation director to utilize Ducati’s in these films.




Ducati sales rose 44% from 1999 to 2000 in North America!  Based on the increased market share, consumer awareness and overall hype of Ducati, Bologna determined that it would move it’s annual Ducati World Weekend from Italy to Las Vegas in 2001.  From Ducati North America’s perspective, this was an affirmation of their success in shifting consumer perceptions.


The “VIP”/E! Online internet sweepstakes generated 1.9 million hits to the site which included the Ducati link, http://www.ducatiusa.com/.  Additionally, the “VIP”/Sony internet sweepstakes collected 14,352 consumers who requested additional information on Ducati motorcycles.


Ducati’s were seen on a variety of television shows, for example the exposure on the December 7, 2000 episode of “Friends,” reached over 21.1 million people, while the Kobe Bryant Adidas commercial featuring a Ducati 996 has, to date, reached over 1.5 billion people during it’s national run.


In film, although “Exit Wounds,” “Rollerball,” “Don’t Say a Word” and “The Matrix II” are yet to be released, Ducati posters are clearly visible in the recent release of “Sweet November.”  In real life, the film’s star Keanu Reeves, is a motorcycle enthusiast and this was leveraged to achieve the placement.


Competing against Triumph and Augusta, the Ducati 996 has been chosen to be the hero bike for Carrie Ann Moss (Trinity) in the 2002 release of “The Matrix II.”  The bike’s style and technology will be showcased in an intricate stunt scene during a pivotal point in the film.


Results on a local basis include increased traffic and purchases from the celebrity market in both the Beverly Hills and Glendale dealerships.  Not limited to just the talent, both dealerships are interacting with key transportation and stunt coordinators with both bike rentals and counsel.

View Style:

Load 3 More
comments powered by Disqus