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Unleash the Vespas!


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July 01, 2005

Unleash the Vespas!

Heather Green

Vespa junkies, rev your engines. The first blog in Vespa's campaign of working with fan bloggers launched today. Called Vespaway, the blog is being co-written??or free--by two hard core Vespa-ites, Jonathan Ogilvy and Neil Barton. The campaign idea, outlined at Vespablogs.com, came straight from Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion.

Ok, so, it's obvious why Vespa's owner Piaggio would do this??ree marketing and the attention of the blogosphere. But why would Ogilvy and Barton be interested? The only financial compensation they will get will be Vespa schwag and invites to events. (Check out the Vespablogs FAQ).

After speaking with the two yesterday, it appears that Vespa is right about its bet that real fans really do want to write about the products and brands they love. Even for free.

"Why else would I do this without getting paid, if it weren't something I completely believe in?" says Ogilvy. "I think the world would be a better place if everyone rode a Vespa."

I guess it shouldn?? come as such a surprise, after we have seen how Tivo, Blackberry, and Netflix afficianados can be such cheerleaders for the brand. But I would bet that actively recruiting bloggers for a company would only work for these kind of cult products.

This is new territory. Cheerleaders can become gadflys. And Vespa is handing over the keys the the two bloggers. It claims it won't control what they write. But it is protecting itself by asking the bloggers to agree to a broad ethics guideline.

Generally they can't personally attack fellow bloggers or Vespa customers or dealers; they have to check what they post for factual accuracy, and they can't post information that violates copyrights or trade secrets.

Will it work? I really think it comes back to how much they love their lifestyle and want other people to be part of it. At first take, it looks like Rubel chose well or got lucky with his candidates.

In their blog, the two will be writing about urban living, with a good mix of scooter life thrown in. Both ride their Vespas instead of taking other transportation. Barton lives in New Jersey and works in New York City and takes the Holland Tunnel to work. Ogilvy says he got back into riding a scooter when he moved back to San Francisco five years ago and now writes about it on his own time for print and online magazines.

Next up: a Vespa blog in July featuring two female bloggers, one who is new to Vespas and the other who is an old hand and will help the newbie find her scootering way.

09:00 AM

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?? Vespa Launches Vespaway Customer Blog from Micro Persuasion

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Not certain why anyone would buy a Vespa. I knocked the neighbors one off the kickstand and it fell over onto the left side. The estimate for repairs ranges from $1500 to $3000. I can just imagine what it would cost if it were actually in an accident. Why buy a $5000 bike that cost $3000 to fix if it just falls over.

Posted by: Elliot at February 4, 2006 03:33 PM

Elliot is completly off base. Firstly, most Vespa repairs can be done by yourself and require little outside help. Knocking a Vespa over would indeed cause cosmetic damage but I highly doubt ANY damage to the engine would be caused. The engine is enclosed by side panels that are meant to take a beating.

Lastly, it takes a bit of effort to knock ANYTHING off its kickstand..do I sense a little jealously? :)

Rupert from Toronto

Posted by: Rupert at May 21, 2006 06:06 PM

I have a Vespa 200 GT that I really love.

However I don't ride as often because of the center stand. It is difficult to put the bike up on the stand. I am thinking about a side stand.

Vespa dealer says Vespa doesn't recommend one.

Looked on the web and saw some. Is is safe to use a side stand.

Posted by: gwen at August 20, 2006 05:40 PM

I HAVE AN 06 250 VESPA WITH A SIDE STAND AND DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS BUT I KNOW IT WOULDN'T TAKE MUCH TO PUSH IT OFF THE SIDE STAND AND IT COULD FALL OVER IF SOMEONE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WITH IT

I ALSO HAVE AN 06 STAR ROADLINER AND WHEN I AM JUST GOING TO AND FROM WORK AND RIDING AROUND TOWN I JUMP ON THE VESPA. I HARDLY EVER RIDE THE BIG BIKE ANY MORE. THE DIFFERENCE IN WEIGHT IS CONSIDERABLE AND I LOVE TO TAKE SPINS ON THE VESPA. I RIDE IT TO AND FROM WORK ALMOST EVERYDAY. CAR AND TRUCK SITS IN THE DRIVEWAY AND ROADLINER SITS IN THE GARAGE MOST OF THE TIME. CAN'T SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THE VESPA.

Posted by: ROBIN FOSTER at February 21, 2007 05:38 PM

My first set of wheels was a Vespa that I bought used in 1961, paid $75.00 for it. I rode that scooter all over northern california and southern oregon for eight years and never had a problem with it. Sold it in 1970 for $500.00, not bad.

Posted by: Gary at March 26, 2007 09:44 AM


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