June 21, 2024

If you watch Super Bowl 58 on Feb. 11, you might just catch a Lincoln-made product during one of the commercial breaks.

Kawasaki has purchased its first-ever Super Bowl ad spot to promote the Ridge, a new utility vehicle that has pickup truck-like features.

Like all of its consumer products, Kawasaki makes the Ridge at its plant in northwest Lincoln.

Mike Boyle, president of Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., said the company is plunking down the big money (reportedly $7 million this year for a 30-second spot) to try to attract new customers.

Kawasaki Super Bowl commercial

Kawasaki is doing its first-ever Super Bowl commercial for Ridge, a new product it makes in Lincoln.

“We’re trying to break out of our traditional customer base and attract new customers that never thought of owning a utility vehicle,” said Boyle, who oversees the Lincoln plant. “The Super Bowl and all the related social media surrounding Super Bowl ads provides a vast reach beyond our normal marketing audience.”

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The Ridge is what’s known as a “side by side” — essentially an off-road vehicle that allows a driver and passenger to sit next to each other.

What makes the Ridge stand out from other utility vehicles, according to Kawasaki, is that it has a larger four-cylinder engine and other features that are more like automobiles. Some models even offer heating and air conditioning.

The theme of the Super Bowl commercial is “Business in the front. Party in the back,” and it starts with two men who grow mullets the minute they start the vehicle and drive it. Along the way, everything they pass grows a mullet as well, including a bald eagle, a turtle, a bear and former pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and his dog.

Boyle, who noted that Austin has been a Kawasaki brand ambassador since 2015, said the company feels the money is well worth it because of the number of people who are likely to see the ad.

“Approximately 115 million people will be watching the game, but early YouTube videos and social media results after the game will multiply the ad’s exposure beyond just the game,” he said. “In the end, the amount of money spent per ad view should be less than a regular TV commercial.”

Jason Hellbusch, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing’s corporate director of administration, said Lincoln employees have had a “very positive reaction so far” to the ad spot.

“It gives them a sense of pride to see their hard work showcased on such a big stage.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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