I don't know if you've seen these new commercials from Harley-Davidson, but it seems as if the folks in the PR department are feeling the heat.
Not only is H-D hurting from a embattled world economy, job cuts & profits being down
(www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/43090407.html) but also from an ever diversified and splintered buying public who now have more choices and options when it comes to bikes than ever before.
This ad for Black Label, their new clothing line, screams pretender not contender! (I don't believe for a second any of the guys in this ad even have a motorcycle license, let alone ride a Harley).
If you haven't seen it, be my guest.
It looks as if the design team wanted to hitch-a-ride on the graphic-T band wagon using layered imagery, hoodies and thermals but didn't have the balls to go as far as Affliction and Miami Ink (as not to scare away the old timers on their geezer-glides).
And wow... military style distressed hats! Holy frick... how many years have they been on the market, and H-D finally decide to add them to their line up!
I know there are a lot more dentists, lawyers and academics riding (you can spot them a mile away) and guess what, they'll be the first ones to rush to their nearest Harley dealer to snag the new threads in their quest for acceptance into a culture and life-style you just can't fake... nor can it be bought off the shelf!
Of course the die-hard Harley guys who wear nothing but H-D gear to prove to everyone and themselves they're cool, will wait until next year to buy cause' thats when it'll goes on sale.
Live by It
This next ad does speak, at least on some level, to those who ride. However, in spite of the black and white film footage, the obligatory rock b/g music with heavy electric guitar riffs and it's blatantly obvious (and somewhat comical) attempt at diversity... the ad seems to be preaching to the converted. One would think you might want to go after a broader demographic to increase your market share. I mean once you own a Shovel, Knuckle or a Sporty... you ain't going back to a Honda 650 Nighthawk. "Know wut I'm sayin' Vern"?
Not that I have anything against any bike, I'm simply making a point about the focus of this spot.
Take a peek at this beaut:
Let me begin with one simple question, what's with the Boy Scouts pledge? And what kind of imagery comes to mind when the script hits: 'we believe in dust and tumble weeds'? Where in the frick are you riding? And how does that make me want to buy a bike? Not once did I hear a voice in the ad that sounded like any of the bikers I know. Guys who ride just don't speak that way. And if there is a chick in the group, someone always pipes up "Show us your ti#s"!
Next time, just show me the new and innovative ways Harley engineers have designed their bikes so they don't leak oil, cost a bundle to fix and a pretty penny to upgrade ($250 - $500 plus dollars for a sissy bar & backrest).
Forget retro and the Crossbones... why don't they just build a factory rigid bobber with a springer front end aka; Flyrite Choppers or Sucker Punch Sally... that I would buy!
Yes, this group of sales & ad consultants and execs. say they believe in 'sticking it to the man'... why don't they stick this feeble attempt where the sun doesn't shine.
I mean really... H-D doesn't need an 'Image spot'! Just tell someone you own a Harley and the reaction you get, says it all.