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Archive for June 3rd, 2009

Or_SummaryI decided to write Harley-Davidson and personally shout out that they are welcome and the state is open for business!  The letter is below.

Mr. Keith E. Wandell

President and CEO

Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI 53201

 

Dear Mr. Wandell:

After reading Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey letters on the potential York plant closure I wanted to let you know there is something about Oregon that ignites poetic inspiration, even among the most level-headed business types of your stature.

I could wax on about you (after you get a valid motorcycle license) and your executive team riding motorcycles in the spectacular Cascades, the dreamy coastal towns and rich farmlands of the Willamette Valley, but it’s really about America’s best kept secret…the quality of life.  Oregon has it in spades.

You may know us as the “Silicon Forest” when in the 80’s and 90’s the chip manufactures fled the high cost of California.  The state provided deep tax breaks and the suburbs were attractive to technology workers who could afford a far better quality of life in terms of schools and housing.  The tax breaks (although no longer as deep) have been extended to an increasingly dominate green movement and ever increasing public sector.  Did you know we were the first state in the union to pass a nickel “tax” on bottles and it’s been nothing but rainbows and butterflies ever since. 

Rain?  Don’t let visitors discourage you about the rain.  It’s rare, but when it occurs it’s more like mist.  And with more and more of us working in the solar panel industry we smile at the rain.  And don’t forget the trendy places like Portland’s Pearl District where the York plant management “sophistos” can sashay into all the charming restaurants from high priced condo’s.  You’ll find java beans with extra whip for the chauffer driven commutes along with Northwest brew pubs to sample the hops late into the night.

Sure we’ve been hit by the debilitating housing addiction like all other states after the California bubble collapsed and they stopped buying homes, but the best part is the spectacular vacation home market in the high-desert of Bend amid the volcanic peaks in the center of the state.  We now have record low prices and high availability where many of the H-D execs will want to relax after a long work week.

And speaking of talent, Oregonian’s are here for a reason and it’s not because of the left-leaning lifestyle.  It’s a great jump point in preparation for H-D’s future plans across the Pacific in China.  For example in the 90’s there were many manufactures that thrived in the state — printers, DVD players, digital projectors, memory chips, etc., — who moved to Asia as those sectors matured and profit margins evaporated, sending production to the places in China where labor costs are lowest.  We’re fully aware of this phenomena and would not be alarmed by such a move should H-D look to reduce the cost structure even more.

As you weigh various options and consider the long-term competitiveness of Harley-Davidson, I strongly urge you to give serious consideration to any option that will move the 2,000 jobs at stake to Oregon.  Don’t let the Governor, “Lazy-Ted”, distract you about hybrid technology.  He’s a short timer and spends much of his day looking for electrical outlets.  But, for the record here is the Oregon Economic Summary  (.pdf) for your review.  So, do the unexpected and create additional market buzz for the motorcycle company.  Create a new Harley-Davidson presence in the Northwest region….your gateway to China!

Sincerely,

Mac — Editor, Northwest Harley Blog

I’m thinking he’ll respond.  What do you think?

Photo courtesy State of Oregon.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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mcHarleyIn a world where business people are constantly trying to hoodwink us, with extensive marketing and constant barking to pay attention the Harley marketing team has upped the ante and quietly paved the way to fabricate a fake brand.

I’m talking about the “TRUE BLOOD” Iron 883 which was developed for a nonexistent audience on TV.  WTF?

Almost nothing lives up to the billing and it turns out that HBO has partnered with Harley-Davidson in creating fake products to promote its original programming.  Last year, a print, outdoor and online campaign promoted a synthetic blood nourishment drink to hype the series premiere of “True Blood.”  This time around, Harley-Davidson and other household brands are promoting fictional products to a specific, nonexistent, target audience: VAMPIRES.

The ad created for Harley-Davidson encourages vampires to “Outrun the Sun.” See the ad HERE.  The ads are running in US Weekly, TV Guide, NYTimes and AM New York, among others.  Unique URLs found in each ad drive viewers to HBO’s official “True Blood” Web site.  Digital Kitchen is the agency that created the print and online creative.

It’s an interesting idea for a cross-promotional campaign.  I like the unexpected way that H-D took a gamble with a tie-in to a series about vampires co-existing with humans.  But is associating the H-D brand with vampires a new strategic direction?  I don’t know.  However, I do know those vampires won’t be headed to the dealer to plop down human $$$!

Photo courtesy of HBO and H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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