Archive for the ‘Schwag (Free Stuff)’ Category

Gypsy’ed up ride...

Gypsy’ed up ride…

Are you all about bagger bling?

The “bling” refers to any unnecessary accumulation of shiny and glimmering metal.

There is a place for those who can’t stop called the chrome asylum because of bagger bling gone wrong!  Like the rider in this photo…

In my view it’s an example of too much chrome swag.  Some might even think it’s hideous and wholly unnecessary, but as we know there is no accounting for good taste with all the riders out there.

We know that straight off the shop floor most Harleys shine more than your average foreign made motorcycle, and for those that like their ride to blind the onlookers, there’s a seriously fat accessory catalogue full of go-fast bits, chrome doo-dads and custom add-on’s.  Not to mention all the 3rd party catalogs and online part suppliers.

Is it possible to have too much chrome swag?

Clearly!  You’ll know it when kids point, dogs bark and other riders do a double-take.  It’s often described as: “They sure Gypsy’ed up that ride”…

A reference to the bright and flashy which is often associated with folks exoticising voyeruism or wearing Esmeralda-like headscarves, or running psychic healing parlors.  I realize that’s a less than positive cliché, and mean no disrespect.  The Gypsies are fascinating people with an incredible story.

But, creative enhancements and all that chrome is so addictive.  Rainy weekends can be spent pouring over the parts book, matching gas tanks with seats and sissy bars, and tossing up whether to splurge on the chrome rocker covers to match the new floor boards or save up for the titanium lifters.  For those with both a hunger for lots of shiny things and the means to satiate that need, Harley-Davidson is there for you and the endless fun.  They are single-handedly responsible for promoting, propagating, passively approving and ironically being amused by all aspects of the ‘bling’ culture.

I suffer from what’s called the chrome cooling effect – most often called “Bling Delete” and has only increased the flat black or black anodized popularity.  It used to be done by ‘rattle can’, but now manufactures have combined billet aluminum with black anodized finishes to provide riders the perfect mix of function and aesthetics.  There are as many if not more flat-black or deep-cut, black anodized billet accessories as chrome, so if you’re into the less is more glamour, you have lots of choices.

Clearly motorcycle enthusiasts have become “creators”, in which motorcycles are the canvas.

Stay shiny my friends.

Photo courtesy of HOG Asia. Gypsy’ed term courtesy of Hal.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Elevate your lifestyle with another glass…

It might become the new Harley-Davidson slogan as Keith E. Wandell (H-D CEO) recently joined the board of directors for Constellation Brands.

Constant who?

Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) is a Fortune 1000 company with more than 100 brands in their portfolio, sales in about 125 countries and operations in approximately 30 facilities.  They are the world’s leading premium wine company with a broad portfolio of products across the wine, beer and spirits categories.   Constellation’s brand portfolio includes Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Arbor Mist, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson Triggs, Kim Crawford, Corona Extra, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky and SVEDKA Vodka.

I can see a new marketing campaign now… the flirtatious, and witty pin-up bot from the future where there are no boundaries… SVEDKA Girl Grl.  You know her as the fembot of the future.  The world’s leading heavy cruiser motorcycle company joining together in a hip-hop nightlife where denizens do the “bot” dance… a version of “Dancing Machine” by the Jackson 5 (remixed by Scott Spock).  There will likely be posters and t-shirt giveaway’s with the sensual female robot standing astride a V-Rod… doing that super model burnout gig?!  Watch out Marisa Miller.  Your days are numbered!  Clearly merchandise tie-ins will be planned, scheduled and be most prolific.

In a company press release accolades oozed… “We are very pleased to welcome Keith to the board of directors and believe his experience in a diversified, consumer-driven industry, will provide excellent guidance as Constellation continues to focus on building its premium wine and spirits brands,” said Constellation’s Chairman of the Board, Richard Sands. “We look forward to the contributions he will make to the organization.

The editor of this blog wasn’t solicited for an opinion, however, had it been it would have went something like… “I think it’s important to not confine yourself to society’s stereotypes.  It’s radical to see H-D embrace every aspect of the robot future.  First in displacing manufacturing workers to potentially no real people in advertising.  No one owns the future so why can’t a fembot ride!

Look for my interview with the SVEDKA Grl soon.

Photo remix courtesy of Constellation and H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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This went largely unnoticed, but Harley-Davidson rode “virtually” into the social network scene with the launch of Harley-Davidson MySpace profile. And in true bad boy fashion, visitors are greeted with the “Screw it, let’s ride” manifesto and a link that challenges them to bring their own words to the rallying cry.

Of course Harley will provide updates [SELL, SELL, SELL] on the latest motorcycles and a link that lets visitors customize their own virtual rides with authentic HD accessories. Maybe they will provide some “virtual Harley dollars”?  They’ve included some “SWAG” on the site, screen saver downloads, wallpapers, custom protective skins and other downloads for cell phones and iPod’s.

I’m sure the marketers at HD sat in a conference room and ask:  “How can social networks make us more money” and that is the central mission of the site….and oh yeah, they provided links to information about buying a Harley motorcycle.  Imagine that?!  The marketing spin machine spews out how — Harley-Davidson — wants to give all us motorcyle enthusiasts on MySpace the chance to connect:

“Harley-Davidson isn’t just about bikes; it’s about bikers who love the freedom of the open road and this gives everyone from young hot shots to wind weathered easy riders a place to gather on common ground”.

That would rate fairly high on the “gag-O-meter” and let’s make one thing clear.  The main goal of any Harley internet marketer is to drive more traffic (visitors and page views) to their site and/or the dealer network web sites.  Social networks like MySpace provides a platform for Harley to spread their marketing messages and leverage marketing tactics at a specific demographic.

Is this a bad thing?  No, but putting up a profile page on MySpace does not mean it will be a “successful” marketing campaign.  There are examples of social marketing gone wrong (re: Wal-Mart on Facebook) and:

  1. Is MySpace really the demographic for Harley Davidson? Will teenagers loading up Harley widgets translate into motorcycle buyers? Comscore reported that 24% of MySpace users were ages 12-17. Recently that has decrease to 12% of the user base. They certainly won’t be plopping down $20K. Internet users between the ages of 35-54 now account for 40.6 percent of the MySpace visitor base.
  2. Harley should expect a small group of ‘brand terrorists’ to vent their frustrations for the whole world to see. I would expect comments filled with criticism on the recent downsizing to union issues. Will that help or hurt the brand?
  3. Will the MySpace “To Catch A Perv” black cloud really help position Harley as a premium brand?

Harley has embarked on a series of new ad campaigns that appeal to everyone or is that noone?  I don’t believe non-motorcyclists will buy a bike from MySpace.  And, I don’t know about you, but this is not where I’ll be going to share stories from the road, or post pictures/videos of my bikes or swap tips, tricks and suggestions.

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True to their word for a Spring delivery, the Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary Ticket Package started shipping to everyone who purchased tickets to the event. 

Mine arrived this past weekend and like a kid at Christmas I couldn’t wait to get the thing open and see what was inside. 

Included in the “105th Copper” clad box was:

  1. 105th Laminated Event Ticket with color coordinated lanyard
  2. Includes admission to the 2-day festival on The Henry Maier Festival Grounds (called Summerfest).
  3. Includes one-time admission into Discover World and the special HD exhibit
  4. 105th Event Guide
  5. A leather folio signed by WillieG
  6. A copper wrist band
  7. A commemorative key chain
  8. An American and 105th Anniversary mini-flag.

For the 105th event the price of the package was $60 U.S. plus $5 for shipping.  All things increase and this reflects a price increase of $10 over the 100th Anniversary five years ago.  Not as dramatic as oil prices, but when I went looking for my 95th Anniversary package to compare pricing I learned that it doubled in the past 10 years!  That is comparable to oil prices, but don’t get me started.

Granted the price of the package is primarily for the event tickets and I wasn’t’ expecting a lot from the “swag”, but I’m not sure where they found the cow for that leather-ette folio.  And the commemorative key chain with a Bud-Light ad would have been marginally useful had it contained a cool HD logo or something other than a “Ride Straight Ride Safe” drive responsible slogan.

As a reminder the package did not include Bruce Springsteen concert tickets.  Those go on sale April 4th.  It also does not include tickets to the HD Museum (which is set to open prior to the Anniversary event) or the 105th Anniversary Parade.  However if you purchased your package prior to November 30, 2007 you are automatically entered for a drawing to receive admission…if you’re lucky and if it doesn’t fill up prior to your arrival and if you don’t tire of “if’s”…

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