As any of the leather chaps and jacket cruiser set knows, there’s a fine and uncomfortable line between motorcycle gear and what’s worn in the local fetish scene. Now, before those with sportier leanings get too uppity, one of our readers passed on an e-mail blast from Mr. S Leather in San Francisco. Yep, Puma’s Ducati Gear has made the jump from metrosexual to kink… And, from a marketing perspective that’s not a bad thing.
Part of Ducati’s growth has been based on lending its name to more consumer oriented product. That’s a smart move; companies producing perfume, luggage, trainers and such get a name that invokes power, urbanity, a hint of danger and affluence. The brand donor, Ducati, gets broader recognition as its name is spread into corners of the universe that it wouldn’t normally reach and, likely, a good kickback. It’s a strategy that hasn’t hurt Harley-Davidson any — go ahead, google “doggy clothing for HD lovers”. Occasionally that means your brand doesn’t end up quite where you expected it.
In the case of the Puma Ducati line, this is one of the best things that could possibly happen. For the most part Ducati has been relegated to reaching second-tier sartorial influencers, the metrosexual. Whether this is a tongue-in-cheek demographic or not, it is second tier, because metrosexuals are the well dressed sartorial children of the lauded homosexual.
Lauded? Yes, homosexuals are marketing gold. Not to stereotype, but terms like “double income no kids”, “above average income”, “educated” are like ringing a Pavlovian bell in front of a marketing department — get ready for a tsunami of greed slobber. So, here, though, via the vector of Puma, Ducati has pipelined into the hard-core heart of gay San Francisco.
As the Mr. S LockerRoom send out puts it, “We’re especially excited to carry the Ducati line of clothing and footwear. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just really turned on by moto gear and moto guys, you’ll want to stop by…” By Ducati, they do mean Puma’s Ducati line of kit.
In no way could this be a bad thing for a bike brand beyond clothing — imagine, a market of bikes, gear and accessories sold in his and his pairs. Anecdotally that’s not a stretch – BMW is making good coin off that trend in the North American adventure and touring markets, whether the rondel mark realizes it or not. A couple of KTMs have left the show room floor under similar auspices.
What if a brand isn’t so keen on the association? That would be illogical, do you want to sell to the downscale and uneducated, or more powerful market leaders – yes, we are stereotyping here. While the fetish element isn’t core to the gay market, it is an influencer.
What could possibly be wrong with this? Well, if hardparts manufacturers like Touratech and Twisted Throttle decided to jump the gap, things might get a bit psychologically damaging. And, ALTRider… well the name already works.
Photo courtesy of Mr. S LockerRoom