Ducati’s Star Rises

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The action film Knight and Day opens this weekend. While the most prominent product placement in any Tom Cruise film is the “Tom Cruise” brand, one motorcycle brand is making a valiant effort.

The film has yet to hit screens but promotional clips and trailers have already highlighted the role of his character’s fiery red, sporty Ducati motorbike.

It’s just the first of several upcoming major film product placements for Ducati, part of the brand’s plan to extend its appeal from a brand for serious racers to one for the average motorcyclist.[more]

Since sighting the Ducati in production photos of Knight and Day, motorcycle blogs have been atwitter about the brand’s starring role.

Film roles are a perfect way for Ducati to get off the track and onto the road, a recent mission of the brand. As Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America, recently told TheStreet.com about the brand’s most recent Monster model, “This is a more rational motorcycle than what we’ve made in the past. We wanted to be able to deliver not just a fantasy product, but one you can use every day.”

Up until now, Ducati’s film roles have been slim, with the most memorable being its wild scenes in The Matrix: Reloaded (below).

Starting with Knight and Day, that is about to change. After appearing with Tom Cruise, Ducati bikes are set to appear later this year in Wall Street 2 and then Tron: Legacy (also below).

Offscreen, Ducati’s appeal to the average rider has been helped tremendously by other star-power.

Brad Pitt is regularly photographed (and credited) riding his Ducati. Eric Dane, Jared Leto, Ryan Reynolds, and Orlando Bloom are just three other stars regularly photographed on their Ducati bikes. Asked about the possibility of a sequel to the hit film Kick Ass, star Chloe Moretz said “I know nothing, but all I know is that I want a purple Ducati. I’m serious.” Moretz, let it be noted, is 13.

The bike brand that lost the Tom Cruise endorsement? Triumph. In both Mission: Impossible 2 and Mission: Impossible 3, Cruise zommed to the rescue on a Triumph, the same brand ridden by Brando in The Wild Ones and Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. So is Triumph’s onscreen fame past? Not so fast. You can catch a Triumph between Angelina Jolie’s legs in the upcoming action film Salt.

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