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Posts Tagged ‘Viral Marketing’

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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Honda Fury

Honda Fury

No, I’m not talking about the newly released DiCaprio and Winslet movie, but about Honda’s plans to enter the “chopper” motorcycle segment.  At the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York City, which ended yesterday Honda announced their plans with a model called the ‘Fury’.

Rumors have circulated since last summer, but Honda’s NYC announcement of the radically styled custom motorcycle were put to rest as they debut the 2010 model.  The corporate press release on the motorcycle is HERE.  Honda even released the 2010 Fury Development Story HERE.  Exact timing to dealer show rooms or availability was not mentioned in the corporate information, but many believe it will make the channel by end of year.

Choppers have been a part of the motorcycling scene for decades, but for large part they’ve occupied a niche on the edge of the sport. Honda intends to change that, but I’m not sure “reduction” of the motorcycle to its most pure form using some of the latest production technology qualifies as a chopper?!

fury_patentThe Fury’s complete patent filing (click “images” at bottom) high light some the original design concepts.  On the technical details – there is a large gap in the frame above the VTX fuel-injected 1312cc liquid-cooled 52° V-twin, a raked-out front (caster angle: 38.0°) fork and the tiny (3.4 gallons) fuel tank. It sports a single-shock rear suspension, an aluminum swing-arm, a 5-speed transmission with shaft drive and a shot-gun style exhaust.  It has a low seat height, a single 336mm-diameter front disc (ABS version will be available), a 200/50-18 rear tire and 21″ front wheel.  The dry weight is 663 pounds.

These days guerilla-style marketing campaigns are all the rage.  And not one to disappoint, Honda created a viral marketers dream come true for the launch of the ‘Fury’.   Full on in your face Web 2.0 style social media/networking for Honda fan boyz is available at: Facebook; Youtube; Flickr; MySpace; Twitter.  The only thing the marketing guys missed was a pre-launch count-down widget to load up your PC with a bunch of Adware!

Do you believe that during this economic downturn that buying Honda is being anti-American?  Do you think this is revolutionary for Honda or is it the right idea at the wrong time?  Maybe it’s a situation where after you research all similar motorcycles you’ll determine its well engineered, at a bargain price and designed to get better fuel mileage with a minimal repair record?  And one you’ll purchase…

If nothing else kudos to Honda for sparking the is it “custom/chopper vs. production” motorcycle debate.

Photos courtesy of Honda and U.S. Patent Office.

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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Harley YouTube Channel

Harley YouTube Channel

If you’ve been out of the country this month without any internet access you missed that Harley-Davidson has joined the Web 2.0 movement and is executing on a so-called social media strategy. By social media I’m lumping together blogs, RSS, social networking (Facebook), video (YouTube) and bookmarking.  All of this presents the marketer on Juneau Ave with a rich set of new tools to help generate new business.  And new business is what it’s all about as the company could post a sales decline percentage for July and August in the “mid-teens,” which would follow an 8.7 percent drop in the second quarter.

Harley-Davidson “virally” launched a Facebook page earlier in the month and the official channel on YouTube was launched today.  It’s loaded with content straight out of the motor company. All of this is part of an effort to satisfy the most passionate motorcycle enthusiast.  You see, consumers are no longer sitting around for commercials; they are looking for new experiences. Whether it’s the bad-boy-aura of the riding experience, or the 105th event and ride home blogs, or the active participation in the BB communities, Harley has recognized the need to follow these consumer trends. They’ve looked at the dynamics of their relationships with customers and the nature of their interaction and have concluded that they need to move with the shifting customer base and changing market conditions.

Harley Facebook Page

Harley Facebook Page

Harley’s new social media and branding is nothing but the continuation of selling a lifestyle, a personality and it is also about appealing to emotions of customers. Increasingly, it has become more and more about creating an experience around the product than the product itself!

I’m of the viewpoint that the current social media directions won’t achieve the results they hope for on the sales front.  You can’t approach new media with old thinking. Taking full advantage of social media requires understanding and adopting a specific social media strategy.  Instead they have implemented a “me-to” approach.  Meaning they have followed the others in corporate America and will tie a range of old-school services from their CRM tools and do database development and case management in order to get the database analysis to the telemarketing team.  I just don’t see how all of the new media will connect back to the dealer network to help drive sales.

But, if that’s the way Harley views social media, a set of tools to perform a set of incremental tactics to reach the set of objectives they have always tried to reach with their marketing campaigns, then not only are they really missing the opportunity, they will probably find themselves wondering what all this Web 2.0 fuss was about.

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