It’s hip to be square: Vespa

Watch out. Next time you turn a corner, you just might run into a six-foot-tall hipster with a head made of Vespa handlebars.

To create buzz for the Vespa S model- a replica of a classic ’60s Vespa, with square mirrors and headlights – the Toronto-based Canadian Scooter Company has commissioned eye-catching cutouts. The life-like Vespa-heads are decked out in retro-cool attire like Converse and other in-again brands to play on the notion that it’s hip to be square.

The images will be affixed, like wallpaper, at eye level on buildings around Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. There are four different Vespa-heads in total; they’ll appear either as singles or more intimidating ‘gangs.’

‘[They're unbranded] to create curiosity and intrigue,’ says Glen Hunt, creative catalyst at Toronto-based Dentsu Canada, who adds that the images were done by Toronto-based guerrilla artist Faux Reel. ‘The idea is to bring something attractive to the locations – it’s more like art, so people appreciate it.’ Hunt describes Faux Reel as ‘the Banksy of Canada,’ referring to the renowned British graffiti artist. Street teams will be handing out Vespa-head buttons, too, to further leverage the concept.

Vespa is also working with Toronto-based prodco Crush to do a 40-foot outdoor projection of an interactive Vespa-head that turns around to check out and double-blink at passersby. Print and poster executions will also play on the Vespa-head concept, with headlines like ‘Born to be Square.’

The scooterco is also launching a retro-cool TV spot this spring to push its LX model, featuring a hand-drawn, vintage-looking backdrop. It plays on the insight that Vespas are not the most macho, performance-driven machines out there, and features a guy who’s more artiste than stuntman attempting to jump across a row of cars on his Vespa. He, of course, fails miserably.

The next shot features him picking up a beautiful girl to drive home the tagline, delivered by an announcer with an Italian accent: ‘Vespa, not built for jumping. Vespa, built for love.’ There are 30- and 45-second versions of the spot, which will run on TV, cinema and online. An online game will play on the spot’s concept, in which players can try to make their Vespas jump over things.