KTM quietly faces the ugly truth about bikes

KTM is utterly desperate for the youth market. So desperate, in fact, that KTM Nightlight Session is a two minute video that has almost nothing to do with the KTM 125 Duke that the video is supposed to be promoting. If it wasn't for the beginning credits, nobody would guess it's even a KTM project since all of the visible branding in the first half of the video is for pinkpark and Scott. Neither KTM branding nor the bike show up until the 50 second mark. And that's if you're really looking for it. So why is KTM making videos of the kiddies showing off their mad snowboarder skillz with some random shots of a bike that's propped up next to the safety fencing? Because, for most kids, bikes aren't cool.

At first, I didn't want to run such a terrible video, then I planned on a huge rant about how much FAIL this was as corporate marketing. But that's when I had an epiphany. This video actually represents a turning point and KTM has finally seen the light. Of course the bike is merely used as a prop because KTM understands that it has no other choice if it wants to get its products and brand in front of a wider youth culture that is generally middle class or higher and embraces dangerous sports.

In the US, most kids don't give a rat's ass about motorcycles because management in the bike industry has historically ignored anyone younger than 35 in the old days, younger than 45 these days, and have completely dismissed anybody without grey hair as a viable market capable of pushing parents to buy or outright purchasing on their own. And while the prospects are slightly better in Europe thanks to programs like tiered licensing, the Nightlight Session video makes it painfully clear that KTM knows its place in the hierarchy of contemporary youth interest. Next to the safety fencing.

However, the takeaway from all this is that a proper OEM is actually branching out, which is incredibly positive. As such, Nightlight Session isn't a silly video about kids on a mountain and desperate product placement, it's about a company that's actively going to where the kids are and showing them that there are these crazy things called motorcycles and that they might be fun, too.

For those of us who cling to the fantasy that everyone in the whole world obviously wishes they were cool bikers like us, KTM's humble approach will be painfully jarring and likely ridiculed as a result of deep denial. But, isn't realizing that you have a problem the first step to a healthy recovery?

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