Archive for January 8th, 2009

hoot_genericFor 15 years the Honda ‘Hoot‘ has been touted as one of the largest motorcycle rallies in North America. 

Honda pulled the plug for 2009 citing “economic uncertainty” as the rest of us watch yet another motorcycle rally bite the dust.

I’ve talked to folks who attended the “hoot” previously and they’ve told me, it went from a Goldwing type of crowd to the loud muffler cruisers pretending to be a Harley type of crowd. A Valkyre with straight pipes sounds like an Indy race car and the Shadows with straight pipes just makes sound.  Still others who prescribe to the conspiracy theory state the Hoot had been going downhill the past few years after it was changed from Asheville, North Carolina to Knoxville, TN because in part it outgrew Asheville, but the female mayor at the time worked very hard to make sure it didn’t come back as she disliked motorcycles.  This was also reflected in the local news.  So less and less people attended. Prices went up due to the high cost for vendors who in turn started to bail-out and thus repeating the downward cycle.  Some thought the hand writing was on the wall when Honda reported the annual ‘Hoot Ride’ for kids charity for ’09 TN event would be in a new location near Nashville.

Related to this I just received the H.O.G information for 2009 and it got me thinking this might be a prime time to reach out to other motorcycle riders so they can discover what we already know…expose this group of riders to the greatness of H.O.G!  There are primarily three large motorcycle manufacture supported clubs – BMWMOA, GWRRA, and H.O.G.

I can understand the reluctance to increase the size and granted H.O.G doesn’t really need to increase the ‘applicant pool’ by trying to absorb displaced ‘Hooters’, but it would be a good opportunity to reach out especially in this economy.  It might be a way to improve local H.O.G rallies with higher attendance?

H.O.G are you listening or did I lose you with the image of orange shorts, tight tops and hot wings?

Logo courtesy of Honda.

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Gustaf Tenggren's -- The Little Trapper 


Gustaf Tenggren's -- The Little Trapper

In less than 5 minutes on the internet you’ll notice that Harley is using a barrage of online tools, advertisements and video such as YouTube to push its recently announced guarantee to provide full value on trade-ins of its Sportster motorcycles.

Who are they kidding?  This is the mother of marketing gimmicks wrapped in company hype about strong trade-in values!  This is about as absurd as Flynt (Hustler) and Fancis (CEO, Girls Gone Wild) seeking a $5 Billion federal bailout for the “Adult” industry.  Now I could debate that that is an idea which makes sense with our tax money, but won’t!

Anyway, the deal is you buy a new Sportster motorcycle or trade in a recently purchased Sportster before March 31, 2009, and you’ll get the Sportster’s original manufacturer’s suggested retail price value when you trade up to a Big Twin or VRSC motorcycle.

There is nothing new here.  It’s déjà vu all over again…Harley did this back in the late 80’s.  In the fine print I’m sure the motorcycle has to be in mint condition on return, you don’t get any taxes back, you’ll have to pay for any repair/maintenance work, you won’t get any incremental value for custom modifications or enhancements, you may have to pay to bring the motorcycle back to “dealer ready” condition and of course you’ll have to pay full on for the new one your trading “up” too.

Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson SVP and CMO, said in the press release;

“This effort is driven by the uniquely strong value of Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” and went on to say “Our strong trade-in values allow us to offer something nobody is likely to match.” 

Has he been on the internet and looked at motorcycle prices on Craig’s list?  They are in free-fall.  There is a place for absurd cause-related marketing…but this incongruity is like those ads for swimsuits benefitting the cure of skin cancer!

I’m sure the company and dealers are hoping this promotion will drive traffic, someone to the showroom and boost sales.  I guess Hyundai’s preemptive no-penalty return incentive program had the folks in Milwaukee wondering how to compete with their definition of “life-changing” event?  Maybe they should ask Joe-the-plumber what he thinks of this promotion?  Wait he’s off to Israel reporting on the Gaza conflict.

All this absurdity…is funny.

Photo courtesy of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation archive.

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