Pre­par­ing for ac­tion!

Old Bike Australasia - - SUZUKI DR250S PATROL - By Jim Scays­brook

The ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign men­tioned in Ge­of­frey’s story is some­thing I feel qual­i­fied to com­ment on, since I wrote it dur­ing my time at long-gone Syd­ney ad­ver­tis­ing agency Coudray Dai­ley. It was 1982 and my good friend Ron Kivovitch was at that time CEO of Suzuki Aus­tralia, so nat­u­rally I ham­mered him for a tilt at the ad­ver­tis­ing ac­count, to which he thank­fully suc­cumbed. Our first task was to launch the new four stroke DR250 and the bud­get was suf­fi­cient for a tele­vi­sion cam­paign to add to the print sched­ule. I des­per­ately wanted to avoid stereo­type mo­tor­cy­cle ad­ver­tis­ing and came up with a con­cept that I qui­etly nicked from a very old Bri­tish movie called Once a Jolly Swag­man, made in 1949. The plot for the movie (lu­di­crously re­named Ma­ni­acs on Wheels for the US mar­ket) cen­tres on the main star, Dirk Bog­a­rde, who be­comes a speed­way rider af­ter los­ing his job in a fac­tory. The con­fus­ing ti­tle was sup­posed to re­flect the fact that the sport had orig­i­nated in Aus­tralia – a ten­u­ous link, to be sure. Any­way, Bog­art (or his char­ac­ter, Bill Fox) has his ca­reer in­ter­rupted by the war, and finds him­self drafted into the Bri­tish army to be­come a Dis­patch Rider. Dur­ing his train­ing, Mr Fox is daydreaming of speed­way (and his girl­friend, who was sup­posed to be Aus­tralian) in­stead of lis­ten­ing to the lec­ture on the per­ils and pit­falls of be­ing a Dis­patch Rider be­ing loudly con­ducted by his sergeant. As pun­ish­ment for his inat­ten­tion and in­sub­or­di­na­tion, Fox is or­dered to show the squad how a mo­tor­cy­cle should be rid­den, which he does with alacrity by tear­ing around the pa­rade ground in a full broad­side, to thun­der­ous cheers from the other re­cruits. In re­al­ity, Dirk Bog­a­rde de­tested mo­tor­cy­cles, and his rid­ing se­quences were per­formed by Ron John­son and Ron Howes, both mem­bers of the post-war New Cross league team in Lon­don, where the ac­tion se­quences were filmed. Armed with this pla­gia­rised sce­nario, my tele­vi­sion script, shot for a 60 sec­ond com­mer­cial with a 30 sec­ond cut down, was fairly sim­ple to cre­ate. We re­cruited Suzuki’s young mo­tocross star Robert ‘Bee­tle’ Bai­ley as the star and a lo­ca­tion was found at Narrabeen, north­ern Syd­ney, in a re­serve owned by the lo­cal coun­cil. The di­rec­tor was Bob Kersey, whom I had known for many years and who was a keen rider him­self, on a BSA 441 of all things. At the lo­ca­tion, a huge pile of earth was bull­dozed into place, and Bai­ley per­formed sev­eral gi­ant leaps over this, with an army Jeep pass­ing be­low, each land­ing ex­tend­ing the wheel­base of the DR as the front forks bent out­wards. We had 2 or 3 bikes on hand but each suf­fered the same fate, un­til Bai­ley par­tially rec­ti­fied the prob­lem by ram­ming a tree to push the forks back some­where close to where they needed to be. Even­tu­ally the di­rec­tor was sat­is­fied and Suzuki re­claimed their now very sec­ond hand mo­tor­cy­cles. The voice-over for the com­mer­cial was done by a young Syd­ney disc jockey who would go onto much greater things, Doug Mul­ray. The com­mer­cial ac­tu­ally won a cou­ple of in­dus­try awards, but just how many mo­tor­cy­cles it sold, I can­not say. As I re­call, it wasn’t a bad lit­tle bike.

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