Posts Tagged ‘Cynical’

Drum roll please…with a rim shot!

Harley-Davidson released the secret recipe for “The Hardwire” — a new 5-year strategic plan rolled out oddly on Groundhog Day.  You can read the press release HERE.

Groundhog Day, the comedy film starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott portrays a cynical TV weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive February 2 repeatedly.

I reviewed the Harley-Davidson press release and like the film, the motor company seems to be in a time loop spewing marketing or business verbiage that doesn’t mean anything. The release reads like quotes from the books “Crossing the Chasm“/”Blue Ocean“/”Good To Great” / “Tipping Point” / “Outliers.”  I’ve never read all of these books, but I sound MBA literate if I quote them. And, besides, most biker enthusiasts probably never read them either to call me out on it.

Below are the main topics of Chairman, President and CEO Jochen Zeitz’s, The Hardwire = with my snarky management euphemisms added for clarity:

The Hardwire Strategy

Profit Focus: Don’t leave money on the table = Be as greedy with them as possible.
Selective Expansion and Redefinition: We’re all about value-add = Unlike our competitors who seek to add no value.
Lead in Electric: It’s best-of-breed = We hired a market research firm to say that.
Growth Beyond Bikes: This is the next big thing/new thing = Some of our 20-somethings have told me this is really cool.
Customer Experience: We’re customer-focused/proactive/results-oriented = That can’t be bad, right?  This is motherhood and apple pie stuff.
Inclusive Stakeholder Management: We need to monetize/strategize/analyze/incentivize = When in doubt, stick “-ize” on the end of a word and it will sound action-oriented.
People: I know you’ve been burning the candle on both ends = Get ready to do some more.
Planet: It’s basic New Green Deal blocking and tackling = How could you screw this up? I also played high school football and those were the best days of my life.
Profit: We want this to move up and to the right = I failed high school algebra but someone said this means we’ll be making a lot of money if this happens.
Financial Targets: It’s about synergies/1 + 1 = 3 = I don’t get the math either, but it sounds like more and more is better, right?

Metaphors or marketing euphemisms are always interesting to me.  Eu·phe·mism — a word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. For example, a famous feature of the World Fair in New York in 1964-65 was something called the Dynamic Maturity Pavilion — basically a garden with benches where those of mature years could rest.

Maturity is a positive concept; it implies that a person is fully developed in body or mind. And as a “seasoned” motorcyclist I’ll need to wrap my head around reliving The Hardwire.  We’ve seen this film before. I’ll need to sharpen my pencil and circle back to fully understand the paradigm shift.

In the meantime, I know we’re all on the same team here, rowing in the same direction, and it’s not about me, it’s about us.

Photos courtesy Columbia Pictures and Harley-Davidson.

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2010 Buell Blast

2010 Buell Blast

The public has been manipulated so many times, that when something extraordinary happens and becomes instantly viral in our networked world, many people cross their arms and say – “not real!”

They say the public is cynical.  Who’d blame them?  What with the Borat and Eminem “butt kiss” at the MTV awards show — it was all for ratings.  It seems everything is about seeing misfits behave in the midst of other misfits.  Once upon a time we respected honesty.  To truly make it these days, you’ve got to be honest, you’ve got to have the goods and talent too otherwise you’re just another “scammer” trying to make a buck.

Speaking of honesty, Eric Buell (Buell Motorcycle Co.) is not some faux character in a vague reality TV script.  He’s the real deal and shoots straight about the Buell Blast.  Yes, it’s a piece of crap “sport bike”.  Not his words.  Sure, Eric comes off with ‘tude as if completely independent, not beholden to the parent company (Harley-Davidson), but he does what everyone would like to do — trash compact/compress that little nerdy Buell Blast into oblivion!

The 2010 Buell Blast introduction video is HERE.

The video works because it’s a “first”. Well actually I am pretty sure that it isn’t – but that’s not important as long as it’s perceived as a novel idea.  Kudo’s to the marketing dudes.  The video contains a bit of a mystery. Something that wants to be solved. Curiosity sets in and you wonder if this is a hoax or a real video.  There’s always both the message (the actual video) and the meta-discussions of the message (is this real/stupid/too much?) to drive people to share and view your content. As the buzz grows, people will join only to see what others are talking about – this is when the crowd mentality kicks in.

It’s a battle over clever stuff and this was good product marketing on the failure to convert the non-riding public into Buell owners!

UPDATE:  September 17, 2009 — I neglected to mention that back in March Buell retained Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its new advertising agency of record. The advertising account was previously handled by Laughlin Constable.  This was some good work Alex (Bogusky).   Congrats!

Photo courtesy of Buell.

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