Vespa’s Sex Appeal Promoted in KBP West Ads

They may be practical and fuel-efficient, but the real reason to buy a new Italian-made motor scooter is, of course, sex. That’s the thinking behind a new campaign for Vespa motor scooters from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in San Francisco.

The work, which recently broke on billboards and wild postings in the Bay area, will run for the next two months. This is the first time KBP West has worked with Vespa.

The scooters, which are manufactured by Pontedera, Italy-based Piaggio, were rereleased in the U.S. in 2000 after a 15-year hiatus. The scooter was designed by Enrico Piaggio in 1946 as a transportation alternative in war-ravaged Italy.

“Vespa is a passion brand that has been rediscovered by style leaders, noted Nigel Carr, shop managing partner and general manager. “Vespa is the sexiest way to get from A to B, and their Italian heritage allows us to own that.”

Each of the three executions shows a woman’s hands, arms or legs grasping a male driver.

Although the work was specifically created for the Bay area, both Carr and Piaggio USA representative Renee Tuzee said the campaign may expand into other markets if it succeeds in driving traffic to Vespa’s San Francisco dealerships.

Piaggio’s relationship with the De Plano Group in New York, which has worked on branding efforts for the Vespa since 2000, will not be affected by this project, Tuzee said.

The Vespa project budget is estimated to be in the low six figures.

KBP West also won the $5 million Carvel Corp. account this month. The agency bested the incumbent, Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners in New York, and another undisclosed New York shop to win the Farmington, Conn.-based client’s business.

Carvel operates more than 400 stores and its products are distributed in more than 5,000 supermarkets nationwide. Roark Capital Group recently purchased the 68-year-old company.