Posts Tagged #behindbrammo

Marketing Blog chronicles the Brammo/CP+B story

Marketing blog ClickZ.com posted a nicely-written article about the Brammo/CP+B intern story today.  Some choice quotes:

In May, Brammo spent nearly $18,000 to win an auction on eBay. It won the company access to 40 interns from advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Soon afterward, according to Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher, the company informed the interns they need not keep their efforts secret. He said the same freedom was granted to teams working for Brammo at public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

“We asked them both for as much transparency as feasible with potential customers and anybody involved with our production,” Bramscher said.

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Despite the urge for openness, Bramscher and his colleagues were somewhat surprised when they discovered the creative teams really took to heart the transparency thing. The interns, in particular, were discussing their work online, showing off ideas for possible Brammo images and other work that hadn’t been approved, or even seen, by Brammo execs. “We saw some comps of our logo long before the agency principals showed it to us,” Bramscher said. “It was a leak. We talked about having some level of transparency within the organization, but I think the principals at Crispin Porter + Bogusky were surprised we’d seen most of their presentation before they presented it to us.”

Although Bramscher believes the “leaks” ended up bringing extra attention to Brammo, which has plans to sell its cycles at Best Buy stores, he acknowledged there is a danger to allowing unbridled freedom. “We had one incident in which somebody assumed a date that we were going to be in Best Buy stores and announced we were going to be in the Portland store that day. But it wasn’t true,” he said.

Chris Elliott, a Weber Shandwick group manager involved with the Brammo account, attributed much of the unapproved blabbering to the ages, energy and online lifestyles of the interns. “Part of it is the enthusiasm around the brand and product,” he said. “But what happens is, when you start spending more and more of your life integrated with social media, the lines get blurred.”

The article did not mention the “World of an Intern” video the crew released last week (47,000 views so far).

Although many of the interns have headed back to school this week, the remaining folks will be presenting their work to Bramscher this Thursday at the Boulder, Colorado headquarters of CP+B.

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The Dashboard Page?

Some screen caps from the “CPB Interactive Interns” video posted August 4, 2009.

“I don’t know if you saw the dashboard page, but there’s a whole pile of information that this thing (the Brammo Enertia) gathers based on the rides. So if you want to know how fast you were going,

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where you went,

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the pictures you took during the ride,

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the kind of sound profiles you’re using…”

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There’s some other interesting stuff there, too.  Definitely worth a watch if you’re a Brammo fan.

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“Hey girl, jump on my Enertia and I’ll give you a ride…”

I’m going to miss these interns.  Featuring Interns Mike ( @MikeAngelo305) and Zach (@MonicaLegitsky) Check out the line referenced in the title at 2:17.  The highlight, though, begins just past 3:00:

“I’m on my Brammo and you know I’m straight cruisin’, this is how we (roll?) so please don’t confuse it, drivin’ on the highway and I’m skippin’ past the next guy,”

“Where’d you get your bike?”

“Yo, I bought it at Best Buy.”

Brammofan approves.

UPDATE:  I wonder how you figure out when something goes “viral”? As of this afternoon, about 24 hours after the interns originally posted the video, it’s had 24,000+ views on YouTube.  It’s been commented on by AdFreak.com, Huffington Post, and now, the Wall Street Journal, which writes:

The interns’ work is nearly complete and Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher will fly to Boulder, Colo., next week to take a look at what happens when you turn loose 38 highly-creative, social media-savvy, rising stars in advertising on a product branding

The Wall Street Journal also reported this not-too-surprising news:

The company has been pleased enough with the work that they’ve decided to engage with Crispin Porter + Bogusky at a higher level.

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LA Times: “Enertia . . .not some gutted and retrofitted Frankenbike.”

LA Times reporter Susan Carpenter gets the credit for lifting Brammo Fans out of their blue funk this week for her article and video review of the “very-close-to-production version of the Enertia” following her test ride of it last week.  As usual, I will continue my mission of being the Brammo historian and, besides providing the link to the original article to you, will pull out some choice quotes and the video, below.

Urban oriented and supermoto in style, the Enertia is for do-gooders whose interest in practical, environmentally friendly transportation trumps their need for speed, which isn’t to say the Enertia is unsatisfying. Quite the opposite. It’s probably the best e-bike I’ve ridden. It’s easy to ride, fun, well groomed and fast…ish.

Brammo is erring on the side of caution, its unofficial motto being to under-promise and over-perform. Officially, the company is only claiming a top speed of 55 miles per hour and a range of 50 miles. But, as with all electric vehicles, those numbers vary dramatically based on how the bike is ridden. While punks might get the bike up to 65 mph, they won’t go nearly as far. Pussycats who tread lightly on the throttle, however, might travel as much as 60 miles before needing to plug in.

Based on my half day with the bike, I think riders will have a hard time keeping this thing parked. It’s exceptionally fun to ride. Even better, it’s cute.

Unlike some other electric vehicle manufacturers, Brammo hasn’t skimped on the fit and finish. It’s a real looker – its supermoto style given a striking, futuristic makeover.

Engineered in house from the ground up, the Enertia felt like a “real” motorcycle from a major manufacturer, not some gutted and retrofitted Frankenbike. Lightweight and well balanced, I found it easy to throw around, with a nice, tight turning radius. The brakes had a nice, progressive feel. In fact, I found its overall handling was on par with similar product from the Japanese or Italians, in part because the Enertia uses many of the same performance components. The telescopic front forks are Marzocchi. The brakes are Brembo. The swing arm is made by a Harley-Davidson supplier.

Technophiles are likely to enjoy the digital display, which provides a wealth of information. In addition to the time, ambient temperature, speedo, odo and tripo, there’s extensive information on the bike’s battery life and projected range – all of which is updated every second.

The Enertia is silent at idle, only generating a whisper of noise when in motion due to the spinning of the chain, so Brammo has built in some safety features. Even after the ignition and power switches are turned on, riders must also flip a throttle switch. Brammo plans to release some sort of Apple-esque start-up sound that would indicate the bike is ready to roll; it’s also considering a “power pulse” that would add some motion to the right hand grip to indicate the throttle is live.

Okay, so there were a LOT of great quotes.  One minor curiosity: The article listed the weight at 324 pounds, quite a bit more than the 280 pounds still listed on the company website today.   Either something in the almost-production-bike weighed significantly more than the prototype, or it’s a typo.

But wait. There’s more!:

That’s Aaron Bland, Brammo Lead Engineer, answering Ms. Carpenter’s questions.  Some awesome closeups of the instrument panel (and the bike in general) in this clip.  CEO Craig Bramscher also appears, explaining some of the thought process behind the whole Best Buy concept.

At the end, Carpenter says that “Brammo has the goods” and that  she hopes people put their money where their mouths are, “because I’d like to see Brammo stick around.”


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Today’s Non-newsworthy News

Why, you must be asking, would I want to read news that is not newsworthy?  Two reasons:

1. Because you’re the type of person who wants to know what to ignore.  With so much information coming your way from so many sources, don’t you want to know what NOT to pay attention to?

2. Because it’s written in Brammofan’s trademark snarky-annoying-cynical style.

Today’s  non-newsworthy item is this stunner, posted on twitter today at about 12:45pm, Central:

cvsky

Don’t bother loading up the bit.ly link, it just goes to her blog with the exact same “news.”  While this declaration may indeed be true, it’s just not newsworthy.  If she has some inside information, which is certainly possible (and perhaps probable), then the “news” angle is actually, “Brammo July Launch Hopes Sputter.”  (I feel Professor Bremner smiling at me from heaven.)  The news is that the oft-reported (and oft-repeated) claims that the Brammo Enertia was to go on sale at the Best Buy store in Portland, Oregon at some point in July 2009, are no longer true.  Why take a lede and turn it into a vague future semi-promise that may turn out to be yet another disappointment?

I’m going to cut Ms. Vernarsky some slack, however, because I think the answer to that question points out the difference between advertising and news.  I’m making the assumption that she has heard that July is a no-go for the Enertia debut this month and she had to be true to her advertising-roots and take that frustrating news and put a positive spin on it.  Maybe she’s heard something more definite than that, but one thing us Brammo fans have learned as this marriage between Brammo and Best Buy unfolds is that we should not count our Enertias before they’ve hatched.  Even when you hear it from the CEO.  Anyone remember this:

Sullivan: We’ve heard a lot about the dream of the electric car that keeps getting pushed off.  Any chance that July 5 [the date the Enertia shows up for sale at the Portland, Oregon Best Buy] is going to be pushed back, or are you guys locked in?

Bramscher: We are locked in.  We are ready to go.  It’s taken about a year and a half to bring it into production.

That declaration occurred on June 8, 2009, less than two months ago, when Bramscher appeared on Fox Business News.  Ah, the giddy days of early June when half of the Brammo crew was in New York City plugging our favorite plug-in, and the other half was at the Isle of Man TTXGP race, preparing to make history.  We were younger then, with stars in our eyes and dreams that no mere mortal could crush.

And then along came some prodigious monster with a blue shirt and a yellow nametag and it swooped up our prized Enertia and promised to give it back to us on July 5.  That day came and went without a peek at our prize (although countless “news” sources claimed it went on sale that day) and the promise changed into “some time later this month.” Now, it appears that the month will end Enertia-less.

I want to believe Ms. Vernarsky.  I want to believe that sometime during August, a “subliminal green” Enertia will be wheeled onto the showroom floor of the Cascade Station Best Buy and some helpful sales associate with a yellow name tag that says “Chris” will be the guy that sells the first Enertia to the first customer.  Precognition, however, is not one of Brammofan’s powers.  Thus, I will reluctantly retreat to the comfort of the skepticism that forms a part of my state’s motto: August launch? Show me.

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The Time to Act is NOW

Lack of sleep doesn’t usually lead to clear thinking.  It’s 2am and I just drafted an online petition and submitted it and I have decided that, for better or worse, it’s time to get this ball rolling.

How long have you been following the saga of the Brammo Enertia? I may have been following it for a few action-packed months, but it’s been going on since at least the summer of 2008 when Brammo, Inc., shifted its emphasis from building supercars to building a zero-emissions plug-in motorcycle.

When Brammo announced last February that it would be selling the Enertia in Best Buy stores, the target date was set for May 2009.  That date came and went, as did other announced dates in June and early July.  

Now, the chatter is that the debut of the Enertia will be delayed another one or two weeks.  

Enough of this nonsense.  I want every Brammo Fan to sign the petition I just created, asking Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy to usher in the new era of electric transportation.  

It reads:

To:  Brian Dunn, CEO, Best BuyWe, the citizens of the world, are ready for history to be made. 
We have sat calmly by while Brammo, Inc., of Ashland, Oregon, developed and produced the Enertia, the first plug-in electric powercycle designed from the ground up by an American company and intended for the commuter market. 
We have sat calmly by while Best Buy and Brammo announced a historic partnership to sell the Enertia in Best Buy stores, the first time a motorcycle of any kind would be sold in a consumer electronics store. 
We have sat calmly by while the date of the debut of the Brammo Enertia in your stores has faced delay after delay. 
Enough with the fits and starts. 
It is time, Mr. Dunn, for the Enertia to be presented to the public in your stores. 
We respectfully request that you, as CEO of Best Buy, use all the authority of your position to bring the Enertia to market. 
We, the citizens of the world, want you to declare “Enertia Day” or “E Day,” the day of the Enertia’s debut in your stores, as soon as humanly possible. 
The world is ready to meet the dawn of the era of electric transportation and zero-emission vehicles.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Tell your friends, your fellow riders, your fellow EV enthusiasts to sign the petition.  

Tell your family, your fellow Debbie Harry fans, and your fellow CP+B interns and employees, to sign the petition.  

Tell your fellow residents of Ashland, of Portland, of Boulder, and of the world, to sign the petition.

Tell your fellow bloggers and your fellow stuntwomen to sign the petition.  

And sign it yourself, too.  Let’s change the world, two wheels at a time.

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Best Buy? Yes. $12,000? Yes.

Over at “the electric bliss” (or is it “Clear Evolution”?), there is a great article by one of the CP+B interns addressing some of the head-scratching questions people have when they first hear about the Brammo Enertia Powercycle being sold at Best Buy.  With their permission, I am running the (edited) article here:

Brammo in Best Buy? At that price?

People seem to be very confused when Brammo announced that the Enertia would be distributed through Best Buy.  Best Buy is an electronic store, known for leading the pack in innovation and standing on the edge of cutting technology.  If someone is looking for the latest and greatest… where do they go? Best Buy.

“Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn defended the biker excursion as just the type of venture the company needs to test as it retunes its retail formula amid changing technological trends.” Stated the Wall Street Journal.

The Brammo Enertia is an electronic.  Moreover, how many people visit the most prominent motorcycle shop?  Now compare their BEST day to the amount of foot traffic a Best Buy has.  The number of people who stroll through motorcycle shops doesn’t even come close to the number of people who visit Best Buy.

How does Brammo “justify” the price?  The same way Apple did when they released the first iPod at $600.00, or the astronomical pricing of the first plasma screen TVs.  New technology is expensive. It has to be.  Eventually the price will come down and better models and upgrades will be available, just like everything else.

What about the recession?

“Best Buy has been weathering the recession better than some retailers, and said last month that it boosted its already leading market share in the U.S. by two percentage points during the three months ending in April, as it picked up business from its former rival, Circuit City Stores Inc., which closed in March.”

Yes, ‘times’ are tough. Yes, Best Buy seems like they are taking on a huge and ‘unusual‘ addition. Best Buy has a history of sharp turns that have kept it ahead of competitors.

Thanks, Claire!

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