Mario Marini caught up with Kawasaki’s main marketing man Bruce Stjernstrom for this quick interview:
Racer X: Bruce new season, new sponsor.
It’ll involve the entire racing activity of Kawasaki?
Exactly, it will include street, dirt, Jet Ski, everything that we do here. That’s what they wanted, they wanted a broad program and we are going to do some other promotional things with them too. This partnership is just the beginning; it’s not only the race teams, we are going to be involved in other advertising promotional programs and collaboration that will extend very deep into our program not only for racing. This association will be extended outside the racing.
In terms of time how long are you supposed to cooperate on this project?
Both companies talk in this long term. Obviously, nobody signs a ten-year agreement anymore, but it’s a multiple years and something that we’re both intending to stay with for a long time. It wasn’t because they said “We want to do it because of this rider.” We have always sold this program not on who we have today but who we have had and who we expect to have—this is not about one rider or one team. It’s about our commitment. And about our commitment talk names like Jimmy Weinert, Jeff Ward, Mike Kiedrowski, Mike LaRocco, Jeff Emig, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and Ryan Villopoto who’s the next probably.
How did the personal program with James Stewart and Red Bull affect, if it did, the negotiation with Monster and Kawasaki?
His relationship was an item, but we’re working to resolve those things. I mean, his contract just expired recently with his previous company. And really for Monster’s standpoint, what we liked about them is they weren’t wanting to be with Kawasaki because of a rider—they wanted to be with because of this team. Riders come and go, so the focus wasn’t on one rider. It’s more about “Where are we going from here? Where do we go in a year from now? Two, three, four years from now?” And how important that is to us to have that vision versus the immediacy. Obviously the race team managers have to worry about winning at Anaheim, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore. My job is, Where do we take this? Part of marketing is marketing the race team, so where do we go from here? We really feel that Monster as a company could help us go places, because they’re marketing to the same people that we are. Younger people that like power products, motorcycles and ATVs—it’s perfect.