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Archive for December 4th, 2008

soa_wingFor a company that has been around since the dawn of time Harley has been most successful in what’s called “licensed lifestyle” items.  You’ve seen all the pet products, footwear, jewelry, under garments, furniture, Burger King toys, and other companion products which promote or extend to items that people use as a badge of identifying themselves with the Harley brand.  Some might argue that Harley could win the “Motorcycle Whore Award” for the brand that has most “sold out” and sticks their logo on about anything.  Remember the Harley-Davidson cake-decorating kit made available in baking stores and on web sites?  It was licensed by Bakery Crafts.

hd_icing_kitI’ve written previously about Harley’s brand promise and their movie product placements.  They have had a number of successes, but that cake-decorating kit was bad, illogical and a case of product dissonance between the companies core identity and how to reach untapped markets.  It diluted the brand.

But we live in an age of relentless co-branding so, what should Harley do?  I suggest they leverage the success of the TV show Son’s of Anarchy and launch a co-branded SAMCRO Edition Motorcycle.  Make it a limited edition “Reaper Crew” model specializing in the club paint theme and graphics.  This embraces the free spirited and rebellious associations of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club while nurturing family relationships that maintain a loyal motorcycle community.  A core identity for Harley.  As a bonus they could throw in a DVD set of Season #1, a wallet cheat sheet of the biker language and club terminology, a unique skull-head key FOB and maybe even a t-shirt!   We’ll talk about SAMCRO cologne later!

There is precedence (Clapton/Fender, Jordan/Nike, BMW/007) for a product and “sell-lebrity” co-branding and the key to any brand extension is make sure it connects with what people love most about the brand. 

A SAMCRO Edition motorcycle might be just the ticket.  What do you think?  Would you consider buying a SAMCRO Edition motorcycle from Harley-Davidson?

Photos courtesy of FX Networks and Bakery Crafts web site.

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