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Archive for the ‘Dark Custom’ Category

National Donut Day

National Donut Day

It’s National Donut Day which is celebrated on the first Friday in June.

It’s also known as the best free food day if you live near a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin’ Donut shop!

I’m combining the day with something else I love!

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Right Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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The grueling wait is over!

Harley-Davidson today announced the launch of its latest customer focused strategy in the battle of the motorcycle wars – the new “left-handed” Harley-Davidson® Blackline™ L-Edition.

A full page advertisement in LA Times announced the introduction of the Harley-Davidson® Blackline™ L-Edition, a new model in their 2011 lineup: a left-handed motorcycle specially designed for the more than 35 million left-handed Americans.  According to the advertisement, the new Blackline L-Edition was made of the same high-quality components as the original ‘right-handed’ version (motor, frame, seat, handle-bars, tires, etc.), but all the vehicle operations were rotated 360 degrees for the benefit of the left-handed customers, thereby redistributing the weight of the rider so that the bulk of the controls will skew to the left.

Mark-Hans Richer, CMO at Harley-Davidson, was quoted as saying that the new Blackline L-Edition was “lean as wire, hard as iron and would satisfy the rebellious nature of our left-handed customers.” The advertisement stated that the left-handed Blackline L-Edition would initially only be available in the U.S., but that the company was “considering plans to roll it out to other countries with large left-handed populations.” Clearly the left-handed Blackline L-Edition throws new fuel on a fire that burn’s across many left-handed generations and quenches their desire to ride.

A spokesperson from the Left-Handed Motorcycle Club (LHMC) stated:

“We are enthusiastically behind Harley-Davidson’s recognition of the difficulties riding a motorcycle that has a natural right-hand bias to it.  We urge all left-handed motorcyclists to visit their nearest Harley-Davidson dealer and experience the difference for themselves.”

The skill and care that went into the customization is clear, and the list of parts that were manufactured with a skew to the left speaks for itself: a 1 degree milled-left chrome rocker cover kit and the rear fender was bobbed from the left and placed high-and-tight over a slim, 144mm tire that emphasizes asymmetric left-hand side tread and an authentic hardtail profile. The compact headlight and speedometer were slightly skewed-left and low into the wide, FX front end, and there’s just enough shine to make the black parts look blacker.   Once aboard the Blackline L-Edition, the rider hugs the sculpted left-side frame on the lowest two-up seat ever offered by Harley-Davidson, and reaches high for new Split Drag™ left-handlebars that bolt right to the top of the left-leaning triple-clamp.

In addition, Harley-Davidson introduced a new “Lean Left” clothing line to support the new Blackline L-Edition and the company has teamed up with left-handed Supermodel Sophie Dahl in an innovative left-handed marketing campaign to introduce the latest addition to Harley-Davidson’s high-performance line of ‘Dark Custom’ motorcycles.  Partnering with Supermodel Sophie Dahl is a perfect match as the skewed left Blackline L-Edition sculpted frame and commanding physique complement the left-handed model, who has a recently learned the art of left-handed burnouts.

Please Note: According to a report by CareerBuilder.com, 33% of respondents said they’d been the victim of an April Fool’s Day prank in the office… if you believe this blog post then you’ve just been punked!  Nothing in this post is true and no left-handed people were harmed in the writing of this post.

Photo courtesy of Blue State Creations.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley-Davidson has shown superb marketing prowess in the motorcycling industry with some absolutely brilliant campaigns, but could someone tell me what the exec’s were thinking of with this one on the right?

I thought about calling them to say, “Hey Harley, Scientology telephoned and wanted to let you know the spaceship is on the way…long live Zenu!” after reading it.

Sure the Motor Company is a textbook business school case study for “lifestyle” marketing, but this advertisement at minimum shines a spotlight on age disparity, trophy-wife dysfunction (TWD) and connotes enticement to underage marriage (depending on the state).  It’s a non-rational marketing decision to be sure.  It harkens back to the AMF marketing days where motorcycle rebels cared more for role models than reliability and the bad memories of the “Harley-Davidson Cigarettes” campaign in 1992-1993.  A miserable flop to be sure with several lawsuits leaving a bad taste (pun intended) in consumers mouth.

So, if I have this correct…we have a slightly weathered and bearded 50-something ‘boomer’… proclaiming that as a “quiet gray gentlemen” he would never let his under-18 aged wife ride his motorcycle until she turns of legal age.  In this era of hyper-pedophile-mania there is nothing more classy than old men married to under-18 girls. I find the ad downright creepy to suggest that under-18 girls are looking to ‘hook-up’ with a 50-something boomer. This marketing doesn’t make sense even for boomers let alone as a way to reach-out to the youthful motorcycle riding demographic.  The only thing I could imagine being worse is using it in a branding blitz during Child Abuse Prevention month or to post it on a billboard advertisement in Houston while the polygamy trials run through the court system!  To be fair, this ad/photo has been circling online since ’08 and I’m not exactly sure where it ran in print.  Let me know if you’ve seen it.

Last quarter when Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell stated the company was investing in the brand I first thought this was some kind of ‘code word’ for more layoffs, but little did we know it meant CMO, Mark-Hans Richer was deep in the H-D branding lab, with his sleeves rolled up, hitting the marketing white board to improve the company image.

H-D likely spent hundreds of man hours building out the creative concepts for this advertisement.  What’s next?  I’ll save them some time and $$… I’m visualizing a multi-city billboard campaign with a “cougar” straddling a Dark Custom… a Glee club drop-out on the back holding on with the tag line… “I just added my first aftermarket accessory.  I think his name is Billy.”

Time for a new marketing road Harley.

Photo courtesy of H-D and Flickr.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Nick Jonas - Harley Clothing and H-D/Ford

Targeting younger buyers.  It’s not a news flash!

Harley-Davidson has been executing a number of marketing efforts aimed at 20-somethings from whom Harley is an aspirational brand.  The H-D SVP and CMO, Mark-Hans Richer, has pitched the brand to the young-rebel-with-tats ethos through attitude-enhanced ads, social media efforts, and lifestyle programs around counterculture happenings.  And Mr. Richer should know.  He used to head up marketing for General Motors’ defunct Pontiac brand until he left in 2007 to take on the marketing helm at H-D.

The result?  Like magnets, teenagers everywhere are attracted to the motorcycle counterculture lifestyle.  As proof positive the above photo is 17-year-old Nick Jonas (of Jonas Brothers fame) who coordinated his clothing with a Harley-Davidson Special Edition Ford truck and a matching Harley-Davidson sweatshirt while he refuels his vehicle.  OMG!  Like the best band evah, like who knew that, like Nick pumping his own gas would be like such a hawt H-D fashion statement?!  Clearly a Jonas Brothers haircut is more devious that we first thought. Is this priceless H-D advertising for the younger generation or should youthful motorcycle fans across the nation be sickened?   I wonder if Harley marketing had a hand in the fashion wear for this almost 20-something motorcycle magnet.  Hey when you’ve got it, you got it!

In a conference room on West Juneau Avenue I can see it now.  A Jonas Brothers concept motorcycle.  A Jonas Brother movie, with H-D product placements where Nick as an orphaned teenager along with his hipster dog set out to save the planet on a Dark Custom when all the land is in ruins.  Harley will ask the Jonas Brothers to rename their next album and call it the Milwaukee Daydream.  Huh?  Is this what they mean by Harley-Davidson fandom?  Nick will probably have a couple of unanswered questions like “Where is Milwaukee?” and “What are motorcycles?”, but hey try and enjoy yourself and have fun with that choreographed in a self-important, “I’m so cool!” kind of thing you do.

Forty years ago, if you worked hard and saved your pennies, you too could live the life of the rich and famous, if only for a night, or a weekend.  Now the gulf between the worlds of the rich and the poor, between the haves and the have-nots, is so vast as to seem uncrossable, and the public is upset.  Not only right wing Tea Party members, but left wing Democrats.  How did we get such a raw deal?  It’s about jobs and foreclosures, stupid!  How did Obama and his minions get it so wrong?   But, I’ve digressed.

Back to Nick, his hair cut and this manufactured hipness script.  I’m not really the kind of person to get caught up in the latest trends or fashions.  Some days, I’ll wear a black t-shirt and then other days it’s a white one.  The media has trumped up the Jonas Brothers.  The industry said they were above criticism, because they were getting kids to come to their shows.  But can you name one Jonas Brothers hit?  I can’t.

Music or not, seeing Harley-Davidson with Nick Jonas stresses out my “Tolerability Index.”

Photo courtesy GSI Media and Just Jared

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley tells us it’s the real deal — and it’s coming soon.

Using nearly every marketing adjective possible in the dictionary  — raw, slammed, bulldog-stance, classic, radical, straight-on style, bad attitude, distinctive, authentic, broken-in, blacked out, aura of rebellion, custom cool styling and the ever fav “low profile” — to describe the new, but “old” Forty-Eight model.

The new motorcycle is a factory custom in the Sportster line and joins the Dark Custom family which includes the Nightster, Iron 883, Cross Bones, Fat Bob and Street Bob. More on the Dark Custom motorcycles is located HERE.   The 2010 H-D Sportster Forty-Eight is priced at $10,499 in black and $10,789 in silver or orange.

Sportster motorcycles became the starting point for many legendary choppers of the 1960s, and were also getting pumped up for dirt racing and daredevil stunt riding in the 1970s.  The 48 try’s to retain regain the aura of rebellion from the late 50’s, when the custom culture was formed by the hot rod era. 

I hear a lot of guys say they think Sportsters are starter bikes.  I’m not so sure, but they are typically short hop bikes unless you’re into punishment.  Given the economy and the price, H-D has just hit a bunch of folks straight in the face with this machine.  It’s a beauty!

Photo courtesy of H-D

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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time_andy_wong_apThis news was unexpected.

Harley-Davidson today announced a major change in the company’s leadership. James Ziemer who previously announced his retirement called a hasty press conference and stated that ex-CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner was tapped to run the company and would start later today.

Wagoner, an economics major by training, is best known for his finesse at communicating technology’s benefits and hip-ness — without ever in his career resorting to blue jeans and a black t-shirt.

“It’s just time, to bring my Hybrid Corvette skills and work to Harley” said Wagoner, speaking with Scooter News via satellite phone from the H-D executive jet late last night.  He was en-route from meetings at Harley-Davidson’s double top-secret Bahamas field sales office. He went on to say, “It’s a multi-thousand mile commute on the H-D shuttle, and generally it leaves me only a few minutes for meetings-before a cocktail and the return journey.”

Also disclosed was a 72-member group of senior Harley leaders, chartered back in 2001, and met weekly on corporate environmental responsibility has finally determined their newest Marketing facility will be on Uranus.   Executives evangilized how they would now leverage that planet’s natural atmosphere of hydrogen, helium, and methane. Releasing the build-up of H-D Marketing gases from the new facility–which would be environmentally challenging on Earth–is in fact enriching Uranus’ delicate ecosystem. Ziemer said he and Wagoner recently visited the U2 facility, and said:

“it was a sheer delight to observe that planet’s pale blue liquid methane sunset, richer and more subtly hued, thanks to marketings output.”

In other news, Chief Talent Officer, Willie G. described a new range of products designed specifically for the needs of the aging Boomer population, all to be sold under the ReVive” Dark Custom brand.  Spurred on by the wild success of their new splash resistant underpant clothing product line, Harley will launch a range of goods and services aimed at the estimated one billion global retirees approaching the age of 80.  Details of Harley’s plans were sketchy and much of the “ReVive” Dark Custom program is shrouded in secrecy. The high-security “ReVive” facility stands behind 20 foot walls and a metal gate near the Rio Grande river in El Paso, TX. Observers have noted that Harley recently applied for patents on the brand “Irontanium 883”, and products are apparently being tested on retired employees living at the Individual Center for Retired Aging People (iCRAP). Harley feels the “Irontanium 883” will restore youthful looks and improve body functionality for those too old to chew their own food!

Lastly, Susan Henderson, VP of Communications updated the corporate blog with:

“I’m angry, disenchanted, exasperated and…buoyant”…  She went on to say:  “I know it’s been a few years since I’ve updated the blog, but I’m still sifting through the millions of responses I received the last time I posted. And I’m still “cheddared off” by the whole discussion. By the way, cheddar cheese was invented by the British in the village of Cheddar in the 1100’s. Just another one of the many reasons the Brits are the greatest motorcycle designers and should still be ruling the world. But I digress.  I think there are many good reasons we didn’t make it into the Fortune “Three Best Companies to Work For” list for 2009, after being there the last 10 years running.  I know, I know there are only five motorcycle companies remaining in the world, but the competition has become increasingly tough and there are some questionable tactics being employed by our competitors.”

While the origin of April Fools’ celebrations is disputed; it is believed that the April fools were people who continued to celebrate the new year on April 1, the ancient start to the new year and the beginning of spring.  

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Photo courtesy of Time/Andy Wong (AP).

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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H-D Clothing Bundle

H-D Clothing Bundle

There are many who think the new Harley-Davidson Iron 883 (Dark Custom) is the most beautiful bike sans clothing, with U.S. press fawning all over the “back-to-basic” motorcycle.

Enjoying my Friday morning cup of “bucks” I thought how H-D marketing should offer limited editions of the machine with new clothing bundles to increase motorcycle sales.  H-D and fashion go hand-in-hand.  There isn’t much the motor company can do to improve the no frills design of the Iron 883, but having a few extra choices when it comes to what clothing gets draped over the bike is surely a good thing, right?

Call it the “Fashion Victim” series.  Offer up a complete pre-bundled look with the motorbike.  This turn-key and new way of expressing your individuality might appeal to the younger generation which the company desperately solicits.  Motorcycle clothing can be found in the most prestigious boutiques around the world, but think of the time you’ll save when H-D does the heavy lifting traveling the world of fashion and pulls together leading brand names in motorcycle wear and pre-packages them for your exclusive fashion statement.

There is precedence for this.  A couple of years ago MV Augusta designed a limited edition motorcycle (Hydrogen) specifically for Hydrogen Jeans.  Customers could order designer jeans or the motorcycle to match right online!

So, in keeping with this Iron and new clothing bundle theme it would include:

  1. Jacket: Levi’s blanket lined, Big E. Extra cost for lining worn out at right hip due to knife rubbing.
  2. Pants: Vintage Lee work pants via Ballyhoo Vintage.
  3. Shoes: Chippewa moc toe (very Irish!). Cordovan polish then mink oil make them look well worn.
  4. Gloves: Marmot
  5. Shirt: JCrew. If you don’t like a fake cowboy shirt from JCrew then it’s Sears Western.
  6. Belt: Billykirk Mechanic’s. Very cool hidden buckle avoids tanks scratches.
  7. Knife: Leatherman Flair. The only one offering a corkscrew. Dude don’t look silly carting around tools but can’t even open a bottle…essential.
  8. Glasses: JPeterman. Captures that Aermachi Club look.
  9. Dew Rag: don’t be caught naked without a snot-rag/potholder/coaster bandana. Or wearing instructions!
  10. Reading material: Snowboard Magazine (A fave to maintain “dude” speak)

Cost?  Of course undertaking a ‘Bianchi‘ like journey from Amsterdam to Chicago isn’t cheap, but I’ll let H-D determine the expressive value of the package and price accordingly.

Maybe I’ll go decaf tomorrow?!

Photo courtesy of 10engines.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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