July 11, 2011 – Kawasaki turns to Bowyer for Ultra 300 promotion

Kawasaki has spent much of the last several months touting the company’s “Step Up And Win” challenge. The contest, which involved NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, invited consumers to visit a Kawasaki dealership in order to pick up a game piece. The customer then entered a code from each game piece onto a Kawasaki website, with hopes of winning an Ultra 300X and trailer.

In addition, as part of a three-day trip for two, the winner will attend the Three Rivers PWC Charity Ride on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on July 15 and ride alongside Bowyer on their Ultra 300X models.

Getting Connected
Kawasaki’s relationship with Bowyer dates back to the 1990s, through a relationship with Richard Childress Racing (RCR). In fact, Kawasaki’s Jon Rall worked with RCR, and continues to arrange marketing promotions between the two companies. Bowyer was featured prominently in video promotions released during the Kawasaki dealer show last fall in Las Vegas. The popular driver filmed the spots on Lake of the Ozarks early last fall.

“We’ve held several promotions with Richard and his easygoing drivers,” Kawasaki senior media relations coordinator Greg Lasiewski said. “They’re a great fit for Kawasaki and our products. Clint comes from a family of racers. Clint and his brother both raced motocross and rode Kawasaki at one time or another.”

According to Lasiewski, it was Bowyer himself who suggested the grand prize presentation connection with the Three Rivers Charity Ride. That event, now in its 16th year, benefits the Tri-County YMCA. Events during the weekend include a silent auction, the ride down the Osage, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers that culminates at the St. Louis Arch, and an after-ride reception. Each participant’s $750 entry fee is used in constructing the lake’s only community center dedicated to providing youth and teen programs, childcare, health and fitness classes, summer camps, adult leagues and activities for older adults.

“Clint is a PWC owner and it seemed like a natural fit,” Lasiewski said. “He wanted to do something for the local area, and suggested that we tie in this promotion with the Three Rivers YMCA fundraiser. They will be riding from the dam at Lake of the Ozarks 240 miles to the St. Louis Arch in one day.”

Driving Traffic
From a dealer perspective, however, the promotion was intended to drive traffic of another kind. One of the more unique aspects of the contest is that it required participants to actually go into a Kawasaki dealership, where they would receive a special water-activated game piece that revealed a unique code. Traffic was then driven to a special contest website, where codes would be entered for the chance to win. Some 15,000 prizes were available to instant winners. Each entry was then collected for the chance to compete against Bowyer at the Three Rivers Ride and take home the Ultra 300X.

According to Lasiewski, 200 game pieces each were sent to a total of 831 dealers, for a total of 166,200 potential participants. The total number of entrants who actually went to a dealership and picked up a game piece — and then entered to win online — was 8,207. At the same time, significant traffic was driven to the website. Nearly 93,000 page views were recorded during the contest period, from just shy of 33,000 unique visitors.

Kawasaki even offered interested participants the chance to have Bowyer send their friends a “taunting” email. Users provided a friend’s name and email address, along with a few unique details like hometown and place of business, and an email was sent from Bowyer and the friend, challenging the recipient to try and beat Bowyer in the contest. The email added yet another clever twist to the contest that both personalized and spread the news of the challenge further than traditional means.

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