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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Strategy’

Communication technology and digital media have transformed almost every sector of society, altering the way we express ideas, participate in public debates, connect with others, entertain ourselves and define our identities.  The implications of the digital age are profound

And for the past 31-years, Minneapolis-based Carmichael Lynch has helped build the Harley-Davidson brand through innovative ideas in advertising, digital and public relations.  You may not know the agency, but you’ll remember their “Screw It, Let’s Ride” campaign which inspired people to get out and ride independent of what the economy is doing or what the pundits tell us.  In addition they developed the more recent award winning Harlista campaign which resulted in an 8.2% increase in share of motorcycles among Hispanic targets and a 615% increase in web traffic to the Hispanic section of the H-D web site.

But the relationship is no more.  The two companies have what the Tiger Woods divorce attorney’s might label as “irretrievably broken” as the two companies parted ways this week.

Clearly Carmichael Lynch wasn’t satisfied with a smaller lead advertising role and “resigned” as H-D’s new strategy has been moving away from a singular consumer agency and instead is working with several creative agencies like McCann, VSA Partners, Davie Brown and others.

In an era when relationships are measured in “internet time” the fact that this agency has been able to successfully maintain a client relationship for so many years and produce quality, award winning creative against many odds stands for something in my book!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Carmichael Lynch.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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hd_flagAppropriate or not many of the news outlets capture footage of corporate moguls emerging from private jets and images of lavish hotels, expensive gifts being showered on senior executives and clients at corporate events and then they turn right around as a “muckraker” and help fuel the fiery populist rage whipping across this country.  We’ve seen politicians do it as they prophesize evidence of corporate abuses to an outraged public all the while describing the discrepancies of “our” American dream.

Now Harley-Davidson marketing decided to throw their own tea-party and jump aboard the “outrage train” with a NY Times and online ad at Facebook.

Clearly an attempt to help the collapsing newspaper industry and draw in like-minded customers, who feel the muckrakers have predicted an early demise of American companies including H-D?  People are hurting. It seems self-serving, intellectually dishonest and a bit risky to try and capitalized on the anger and resentment of the masses to:

 “Wrench the life back into our economy.” 

More and more today’s motorcycle market reminds me of the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” In that classic, Alec Guinness commanded a group of British POWs in Southeast Asia during WWII tasked to build a bridge for a Japanese railway. But in his zeal to build the bridge, Guinness’ character, Colonel Nicholson, lost sight of its true purpose and only saw it as means to an end, whereas it was really an end in and of itself.  As a blogger I’m always interested in the transformative power of advertising.  In this case — H-D’s thread of hopeful narrative in the midst of America’s demise — there sparkles Harley-Davidson as a flashy gem of advertising hope.

Shine on you crazy diamond, Harley.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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Have we become immune to marketing ploys? 

Here comes another one in my inbox (slightly modified by yours truly).  Have you notice how Harley-Davidson has put the CVO operations in charge of advertising?  I speculate this is true because those Scream’n Eagle upgrades on all its advertising lately has me totally overloaded at how fast and how often they seem to come.

Simply put, advertising overload is what happens when you’ve seen so many ads, that you become desensitized. You lose your ability to think or differentiate what’s real vs. the “cool-aid…everything and everyone wants to attract your attention…obviously this will translate into you buying something!

Think back…..remember when you first realized that people could make money online?  Remember the excitement?  Did you “buy” into it all? The hype, the promises, and the exaggerations of riches beyond your wildest dreams. Did you actually wrap up that $5 bill in a piece of paper and mail it to the last name on the list in the chain letter?

We’re under siege by motorcycle advertisers, and the problem is more serious than just irritating dinnertime phone calls or endless ads during movie previews or commercial names for sports stadiums or e-mail boxes that are clogged by unsolicited emails.  So here is my public outcry and request to put me on all the “do-not-disturb” lists or delete my email address and I’m now smarter than a chain letter so don’t use “faux marketing” and SPAM’ers beware…pick your advertising term of the day…

As the Harley marketers re-jigger and focus on the return of their media campaigns and how to reach more and more of us please understand that the most effectively way to reach me is to not reach out at all….I’ll come to you when I’m ready for any transaction. 

I’m of the opinion that the tyranny of too much isn’t necessarily better in advertising.

Photo is courtesy of Harley-Davidson’s email blast with some “slight” modifications.

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More women than ever are choosing to ride motorcycles as their main leisure activity. This bit of trivia is according to a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates, where 12 out of every 100 motorcycles are sold to women – a 20 percent increase since 2003.

However, that’s just not enough women buyers for Harley or they aren’t getting a disproportionate share of those women buyers because the company marketers have spun up another promotion targeted exclusively for women. 

The deal is that every women who graduates from a Rider’s Edge course AND purchases a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle now through October 1, 2008 will receive a diamond ring.

This comes as no surprise from a highly male marketing team.  Motorcycling is a male dominated sport and there is very little information out there that speaks directly to woman’s interest in riding or getting her own bike…call me crazy, but today’s woman rider is college-educated earning $50,000 or more and is a role model in her community…do “diamond ring”  stereotype’s really work and influence women to make a purchase decision?

This is so yesterday’s news.  The Harley marketing staff needs to get a clue and bring on a few dozen female college interns to regain perspective.

Ring and Woman advertisement photo courtesy of HD

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You see it all the time…companies involved in cross-promotion or product placement deals for television and/or films.  High-tech companies are the worst in pushing products including Apple Computers, which must have a warehouse full of MacBooks for their “hired-out-for-loan” program in exchange for exposure.  From the first Tom Cruise “Mission Impossible to Fox’s “24″, Apple must outspend all other PC companies in product placement and is perhaps more active in this area than any other technology company.  Product placement has become a significant source of revenue for media companies and I would assume that manufactures compensate the producers in some manner.

I think my first exposure to product placement (that I remember) was while watching Steve McQueen steal a Triumph from the Nazis and chasing himself around the fields of Germany in The Great Escape, the finest motorcycle sequence ever filmed, in my humble viewpoint and I didn’t know for years that Bud Ekins made the big jump.

However, after recently seeing “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull it would seem that Harley-Davidson is joining the product placement cult.  Just like in the movie “Wild Hogs” which had both “product placement” for a physical product as well as self-promotion for a media property (Extreme Makeover – Home Edition),  when Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) speeds through the college campus with Harrison Ford riding “bitch”, it was on a Harley.  By the way I think stunt rider Lee Morrison is one of the best motorcycle riders on the planet! 

But what type motorcycles were they using?  The two-wheeled star of the movie is a 2007 Softail Springer Classic that was modified to look “period correct” — from 50 years ago.  Harley supplied Lucasfilm with the bikes and requested that they be recognizable as a Harley, however, the bike’s builder, Justin Kell, stated that he modeled them to be a postwar Knucklehead and did a lot more than just put 1955-56 tank badges on them.  Modern improvements were necessarily left intact on the motorcycles because the bikes were used to do high-speed stunts in the film.

Because of product placement deals the film had to use new bikes.  A total of five bikes were built for the film, one of which was an effects bike that was destroyed in the course of filming and two of the remaining bikes will be returned to Harley-Davidson, which plans to display them in the new motorcycle museum, opening July 12th in Milwaukee. The remaining two others were purchased by the production company.

The chase scenes move rather fast and many people won’t notice, but astute bikers likely noticed the belt drive in the campus chase scene.  Also the not-so “period correct” bikes had a disc brake on the front wheel, dual throttle cables, a “Twin Cam” engine along with modern grip/hand controls, including a starter button when it was seen being kick-started earlier in the movie.

I wonder where we’ll see Harley placement next?  To me, Wild Hogs and now Indiana Jones is a new high (or new low, depending on your perspective) in marketing strategy. I checked out the movie web site and there are plenty of games, promotions and activities to satisfy the interactive mind – expected for a film such as this. What I was surprised not to find was a tie-in to Harley-Davidson for a ‘Wreck a Hog’ simulation game, since they blatantly promote the destruction of the motorcycle in the film.   

Harley did sink rather low…I found a “Motor Wheels Mutt” licensing deal for a toy tie-in back to Harley on the Burger King site.

 

Train photo courtesy of Lucasfilms.

Motor Wheels Mutt courtesy of Burger King

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