Luxury brands certainly have teams of brand police within Marketing to ensure their products aren’t being “Brand Jacked” or improperly positioned, but H-D is missing in action when it comes to the racially charged “N” word debate by pastors Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp of Florida’s Dove World Outreach Center.
I’ll avoid getting into the debate over the ‘church’ content, but rather I want to point out that pastor Terry Jones is wearing a Harley-Davidson t-shirt and something like this can’t help the motor company or worse can potentially hurt the iconic brand.
Here’s my take… H-D has nothing to do with the video, and their brand is being dragged through the “N” word debate to make a, Dr. Laura-esque point about racial double standards. H-D hasn’t done anything to draw this unwanted attention. Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center have seen a rapid rise in notoriety for their pending “Burn a Koran Day” on 9/11. It seems show business have outruled common sense.
H-D can’t control who buys their merchandise, but they damn well sure can respond with a “cease and desist” order on both YouTube/Google and the Dove World Outreach Center/Church. They should demand an immediate pull down of the video and the CMO should have a “not on my watch” A’tude! If it gets reposted, at minimum the t-shirt should be blurred out.
H-D as a corporation has diligently worked and spent tremendous amounts of money on their image and brand. Watching from the sideline with a blind-eye or having a “strategy of hope”… i.e. hoping that the dust will settle and there will be no negative impact on their brand would be negligent. In fact, I’m a bit offended with having a collateral clothing association and checking my t-shirt inventory to trash any similar Mr. Jones attire.
Photo courtesy of YouTube.