Ducati kickstarts promo with pics

Bikes to appear in 'Terminator,' 'Transformers'

Ducati is banking on moviegoers’ appetite for robots to help the Italian company promote its motorcycles this summer.

Two of Ducati’s high-performance bikes appear prominently in Warner Bros. and Sony’s “Terminator Salvation” as a pair of villainous killers, and a Ducati is one of three motorcycles that’s key in the construction of a large robot in Paramount and DreamWorks’ “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Scenes in the films showcase the high-performance capabilities of Ducati’s Hypermotard bike. But in an unusual move, the company’s red shield logo doesn’t show up in “Terminator.”

That’s mainly because four of the motorcycles were used during the production but then digitally transformed into moto-Terminators in the film, complete with guns and a menacing robotic exoskeleton.

The design of the bikes appealed to helmer McG, who approached Ducati to come aboard as a promotional partner.

The elimination of the brand in the pic didn’t dissuade Ducati from a tie-in with the film.

“We’re looking to push the technology aspect of the brand,” said James Viola, marketing director for Ducati North America, and ” ‘Terminator’ fits very well with that message.”

Ducati most recently had a prominent placement in Warner Bros.’ Jim Carrey laffer “Yes Man.” It also paired up with the Sylvester Stallone actioner “The Expendables,” currently lensing.

The placements are more traditional in those films.

As part of the “Terminator” tie-in, a behind-the-scenes docu was produced on how Ducati’s bikes were used on set and then digitally replaced. That doc will be featured on the “Terminator Salvation” DVD. It’s a perk that many marketers have requested from studios but rarely receive.

Although Ducati doesn’t boast a large marketing budget, the company has already launched a promo around “Terminator Salvation” that includes a custom trailer shown on its website, at events and at its more than 160 dealerships around the world. Mentions in an email newsletter that goes out to consumers are also part of the effort.

“Although we’re a big brand, we’re a premium brand, and movies help get us awareness for our products,” Viola said. “It gives us exposure to the general public that we don’t normally speak to. I still hear about (the placement in) ‘Fled,’ and that was a long time ago.”

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