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Posts Tagged ‘Mark-Hans Richer’

It’s unlikely that you are aware of this, but prior to the New Years holiday I sent a friendly email to Harley-Davidson’s CEO, Keith Wandell and challenged him to a little competition.

We know that Mr. Wandell likes to golf, but it wasn’t like that “caddy” and “wager” from the scene in Caddyshack… “Five bucks says the kid picks his nose…” nor was it like The Office episode where everyone at the Scranton branch were making bets, one of which was to switch Creed’s apple for a potato and see if he would know the difference.  While that’d be funny I’m sure that Mark-Hans Richer would quickly notice.

Truth be told I suggested a friendly wager for Monday’s Rose Bowl between the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers.

In the personal message I stated that if the Badgers lose Mr. Wandell would pull together a care package of Leinenkugel’s beer, Wisconsin cheese, and a package of Andes mints.  Maybe even throw in a discount coupon for some Harley chrome with a personalized note.  Should the Ducks lose, I would send him an Oregon nut— I know what you’re thinking— Hazelnuts and a dead fish (smoked king salmon) to his office in Wisconsin.  I was also willing to throw in a promise of writing only “you done good” blogs about the motor company for a full month.

Must I remind that the Ducks won the game?!

You might want to re-check your email SPAM folder and unblock Northwest Harley Blog email.  I’m sure I sent it.  You know where to get in touch, Keith.  Here’s a cheer in advance of receiving the Leinenkugel refreshments!

Photo created by author at Opuscreative.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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H-D Liberation Video

Last night, Harley-Davidson launched the next version of their No Cages campaign during the season premiere of Sons of Anarchy (SOA) on FX.

The advertising spot, called “Liberation“, adds to the limited portfolio of creative developed as part of the motor companies crowd sourcing strategy, introduced last year.

Sons of Anarchy Cast

Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson’s Chief Marketing Officer stated: “This latest effort builds upon our momentum as the on-road motorcycles market share leader in the U.S., as well as our leadership in sales to young adults, women, Hispanics and African-Americans and the growth we’ve made in international markets.”  He went on to say… “this process has helped to liberate the creativity of our most passionate of fans.”

Like previous No Cages creative, crowd-sourcing partner Victors & Spoils shared the Harley-Davidson creative brief broadly online, and the best idea was further developed and the creator rewarded. In the Liberation case, the idea came from 30-year-old film maker and visual content creator Benjamin Swan of Sioux Falls, SD, who believes that collaboration breeds creation.

And speaking of Sons of Anarchy and last night’s premier for the 4th season. Below are eight video clips from the new season that you might want to check out whether you tuned-in last night or not.

Season Preview
SOA is back for an all new season HERE.

Sneak Peek
Watch an exclusive scene from the all new season of Sons of Anarchy HERE.

Bike Mechanic
Check out the bikes from Sons of Anarchy HERE.

Production Design
Go behind the scenes of SOA and get an inside look into the show’s set and production design HERE.

Make Up
The bruises of SOA tell a story. Go behind the scenes and see how the show creates the gruesome makeup effects HERE.

Wardrobe
Go behind the scenes of the biker style of SOA HERE.

Charlie’s Prison Haircut
Go behind the scenes and find out why “Jax” cut his hair for season 4 HERE.

Hiatus
Take an inside look into what the cast does in between seasons HERE.

Photos courtesy of H-D Facebook and FX/SOA.

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The grueling wait is over!

Harley-Davidson today announced the launch of its latest customer focused strategy in the battle of the motorcycle wars – the new “left-handed” Harley-Davidson® Blackline™ L-Edition.

A full page advertisement in LA Times announced the introduction of the Harley-Davidson® Blackline™ L-Edition, a new model in their 2011 lineup: a left-handed motorcycle specially designed for the more than 35 million left-handed Americans.  According to the advertisement, the new Blackline L-Edition was made of the same high-quality components as the original ‘right-handed’ version (motor, frame, seat, handle-bars, tires, etc.), but all the vehicle operations were rotated 360 degrees for the benefit of the left-handed customers, thereby redistributing the weight of the rider so that the bulk of the controls will skew to the left.

Mark-Hans Richer, CMO at Harley-Davidson, was quoted as saying that the new Blackline L-Edition was “lean as wire, hard as iron and would satisfy the rebellious nature of our left-handed customers.” The advertisement stated that the left-handed Blackline L-Edition would initially only be available in the U.S., but that the company was “considering plans to roll it out to other countries with large left-handed populations.” Clearly the left-handed Blackline L-Edition throws new fuel on a fire that burn’s across many left-handed generations and quenches their desire to ride.

A spokesperson from the Left-Handed Motorcycle Club (LHMC) stated:

“We are enthusiastically behind Harley-Davidson’s recognition of the difficulties riding a motorcycle that has a natural right-hand bias to it.  We urge all left-handed motorcyclists to visit their nearest Harley-Davidson dealer and experience the difference for themselves.”

The skill and care that went into the customization is clear, and the list of parts that were manufactured with a skew to the left speaks for itself: a 1 degree milled-left chrome rocker cover kit and the rear fender was bobbed from the left and placed high-and-tight over a slim, 144mm tire that emphasizes asymmetric left-hand side tread and an authentic hardtail profile. The compact headlight and speedometer were slightly skewed-left and low into the wide, FX front end, and there’s just enough shine to make the black parts look blacker.   Once aboard the Blackline L-Edition, the rider hugs the sculpted left-side frame on the lowest two-up seat ever offered by Harley-Davidson, and reaches high for new Split Drag™ left-handlebars that bolt right to the top of the left-leaning triple-clamp.

In addition, Harley-Davidson introduced a new “Lean Left” clothing line to support the new Blackline L-Edition and the company has teamed up with left-handed Supermodel Sophie Dahl in an innovative left-handed marketing campaign to introduce the latest addition to Harley-Davidson’s high-performance line of ‘Dark Custom’ motorcycles.  Partnering with Supermodel Sophie Dahl is a perfect match as the skewed left Blackline L-Edition sculpted frame and commanding physique complement the left-handed model, who has a recently learned the art of left-handed burnouts.

Please Note: According to a report by CareerBuilder.com, 33% of respondents said they’d been the victim of an April Fool’s Day prank in the office… if you believe this blog post then you’ve just been punked!  Nothing in this post is true and no left-handed people were harmed in the writing of this post.

Photo courtesy of Blue State Creations.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Let’s be clear.  Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Anglina Germanotta) grates on me.

Her lifetime achievement of ten songs are not only a derivative, but uninspired.  More on music later.

She’s been everywhere: award shows, gay-rights rallies, magazine covers, stadiums, YouTube, Letterman, SNL, Grammy’s, etc.  She consistently makes headlines for wearing outrageous outfits – a meat dress here, a spiky scepter there – and for spouting sound bites such as, “I can mentally give myself an orgasm” or “I smoke a lot of pot when I write songs” … it’s gag-a, gag-a all the time.

She is clearly a celebrity overexposed and should just go away.  But, her “little monsters” are goo goo over gaga and won’t let that happen so, what to do?

Call Mark-Hans Richer to suggest he create and capitalize on a “Sputnik Moment” as President Obama evangelized.  So here it is… drum roll please…the headline would read: Harley-Davidson signs Lady Gaga to an endorsement deal!  I can’t think of anyone else other than Lady Gaga who cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is an erotic taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product who claims to be singing for freaks, the rebellious and the dispossessed.  If there ever was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador she would be it!

So, I put the question out to the Northwest Harley Blog think tank (a.k.a. my pet cat Smurf!) and the name H-D: Lady Gaga Edition rose to the top.  A close second was Lady Gaga: Dare To Be Different clothing line.  Honestly I think Lady Gaga’s fashion style is weird and qualifies her for worst dressed, but what do I know?  My fashion wardrobe is mostly black t-shirts.  However, the youth crowd demographic — which H-D desperately seeks – see’s her as agent provocateur.

Now I could wax on about some ideas of a limited edition, “Bites of Enlightenment” Sportster model with Beef Jerky strips as the paint theme or “The Fame Monster” FatBoy model complete with a “Glam” accessory kit like a hair bow, hat, sunglasses, gloves and even a couture neck brace!   But you’d likely think I’m just grousing and I wanted to get back to music.

Speaking of, there’s no cheating music.  Let’s be clear, you can imitate, you can rip off what’s been done before, but there is no short cut.  There’s a schism between “performers” and true artistry.  The artist stories are all the same.  They bought records and practiced in their basements until they were good enough to get a gig.  Then they gigged long enough until someone noticed.  Then they got a chance and some broke through.

The Eagles - 1973 on BBC

Speaking of breaks.  A reader emailed me a video.  My jaw dropped.  It was an Eagles performance on the BBC.  It was like being transported back to 1973 instantly.

So for all you Gaga haters out there the clip begins with “Train Leaves Here This Morning.”  What’s stunning is the band is sitting on stools singing all the music.  ALL the music.  Incredible harmonies.  There’s no one in the background, nothing electronic-fied or on tape.  The 4-part harmonies are almost perfect.  And when something is almost perfect you get “chicken skin.”  Hell, Bernie Leadon is wearing a UCLA t-shirt which was likely the first thing in his suitcase.  It was about the music not the look.  Randy Meisner smiles when singing “A Certain Kind of Fool” and when Don Henley sings “Witchy Woman” it takes you back to the first time you ever heard it, when you had no idea who he was.  This is a band.  Remember bands?

This is not Glee.  It’s not a look-a-like tribute to Madonna.  It’s like stumbling onto the Dead Sea Scrolls.  You can be broke and still sing “Take It Easy” with the wind in your face on the open road and you’re right where you want to be.  It’s reminiscent of a time where radio was about music, not commercials.  This is the way it use to be.  Something that exists in the mind of the artist/players not some stylist standing in front of the mirror perfecting your ‘do.

Photo courtesy of Lady Gaga, The Eagles, BBC and various publishers.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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"No Cages" Advertising

It’s official.

The first work from Harley-Davidson’s new ‘hookup’ with Boulder, CO.-based crowdsourcing agency Victor & Spoils has debuted on YouTube.  The consumer-created spot was born of a new agency model that H-D adopted after parting with longtime agency Carmichael Lynch last year.

Watch the YouTube video HERE.

Congrats and a shout out to Whit Hiler, the Kentuckian who’d submitted the “No Cages” original idea that is also part of Harley’s HD1 factory customization program in which buyers can design their own rides.

It’s an old and improved formula, but it doesn’t make me want to part with my cash!  Maybe you will?  It doesn’t have that viral feel where people are watching the video and then instantly going to Twitter and Facebook, to start a dialogue.

We live in an “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” culture, where speed to stardom and availability of technology makes about anyone a creative director. And this video has a get it done fast, good enough is good enough look.   In the internet world, where everything happens now, this is anathema.  Everything’s here today, gone tomorrow.  Like a lot of advertising these days, the big idea is lost and the execution is vanilla.  I would have thought that V&S’s multiple years of experience would have vetted out the creative gold-nuggets from the train-wreck incarnate.

This creative spot wreaks of ratings/hits, not quality and has a race to the bottom mentality.  Mr. Richer, isn’t this how Pontiac died?!  Is it time for a mea culpa?  When you contrast how the big middle finger of rebellion helped build this brand and now advertising which has been replaced with me-too imitation…  It’s got to be about the long haul.  Not overnight success, but enduring success.  Forget about genres.  Just be good.

I’m still a fan of H-D, but not for this ad.

UPDATE: February 16, 2011 – Mark-Hans Richer (H-D CMO) told in an interview to Ad Age: “We’re really happy with the way it  [“Cages”] came out…”

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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This holiday season I want to thank all of you for your continued support and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Years!

Below is a little poem I crafted for the Harley team…

December 24, 2010

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Harley house,
Not a manager was stirring, not even a supervisor mouse;
Annual reviews were hung by the HR door with care,
In hopes year-end bonuses soon would be there.

Directors nestled all snug in their beds,
While dreams of promotion danced in their heads;
Ms. Tonit in snowflake sweater, and me in my suspenders,
We’d just settled down to write our year-enders,

When from the 3rd floor there came such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to attend to the matter.
Clutching my iPhone I flew up the stairs,
Wondering what marketing-caused mayhem I might find there.

With the moon high above the Tomahawk facility
It cast a glow over Financial Services Billing & Eligibility,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a medium-height chap looking quite cavalier.

That glass in his hand, so clearly a Red Zinfandel,
I knew in a moment: Keith E. Wandell!

More rapid than eagles his lieutenants they came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now Dasher, Now Dancer, & you Curator Bill,
On Joanne! On Mark-Hans! On Enrico! You work here, still?”
“Into my office! At the end of the hall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

Up they lined, like toy soldiers taking up residence,
It was a small army of regular and senior vice presidents.
And then Keith began banging on his shiny new laptop,
“Yes, Friday’s are Casual Day, but this plant absenteeism has to stop.”

I spoke not a word, and was turning around,
When out of his black-and-orange chair the boss came with a bound.
His eyes — how they twinkled! And this I must, say
His cheeks were like roses, all red like a football fan on a cold Packers day!

His Holiday necktie drawn up tight like a bow,
And the bald of his head was as white as the snow;
He had a broad face and the Harley t-shirt showed a little CEO belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He wasn’t chubby nor plump, just a jolly old elf,
And I smiled when I saw him, in spite of everyone else;
A wink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Soon let us know that H-D VP’s had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but with fingers quite soft,
He started filling envelopes so fast it made him cough,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
He gave a wave and twist, down the elevator he goes;

He sprang up on his motorcycle sidecar, to his team gave a shout,
“To Miller Park!” he cried, it’s time to chill out.”
And I heard him exclaim, as he throttled away,
“I have envelopes for all and for all, have a great Harley ridin’ day!”

Photo courtesy of Tom Queoff (USA Snow Sculpting Team)

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

 

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Think Snow Bumpersticker - HD Advertising (circa: 1972-74)

It was a big year for Harley-Davidson as they shifted from downsizing, labor agreements and weathering the recession to now looking forward to growth in 2011.  With freezing temperature and snow falling in many parts of the U.S., I’ve compiled some 2010 highlights to provide you some entertainment as you warm up with hot chocolate:

January
1.    Downtown H-D Renton, WA., one of the northwest dealers named among top 100 (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D reported its first quarterly loss since 1993 (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D announces the new, but “old” Forty-Eight Sportster (Link: HERE)

February
1.    H-D donates 28 new Buell and H-D motorcycles to assist in the earthquake disaster (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D marketing continues to pitch brand with young-rebel-with-tats ethos (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D internal documents indicate 382,000 absenteeism hours in the factories (Link: HERE)

March
1.    H-D promotes danger as Seth Enslow breaks Bubba Blackwell’s jump record (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D dealer (Shumate) in Kennewick, WA., closes under a mountain of debt. (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D CEO, Keith E. Wandell 2009 compensation package becomes public as the $6M dollar man (Link: HERE)
4.    H-D marketing pulls out all stops on innovation and launches Super Ride II (Link: HERE)

April
1.    H-D consolidates motorcycle testing in Arizona Proving Grounds (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D files mass layoff notice with Wisconsin department of workforce development (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D CEO, Keith E. Wandell is “encouraged” as Q1 motorcycle sales revenue declines 20% YOY (Link: HERE)
4.    After 26 years of service Bill Davidson is put in charge of the Museum (Link: HERE)

May
1.    H-D CEO, Keith E. Wandell states in interview that H-D is like GM…a fading American industrial might (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D threatens to leave the state of Wisconsin (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D CMO, Mark-Hans Richer is no man crush of this blog (Link: HERE)

June
1.    H-D launches XR1200 Refresh (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D launches Wii based-game: “Road Trip” (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D at the National Law Enforcement Museum (Link: HERE)

July
1.    H-D opens Hyderabad, India showroom to pandemonium (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D reports Q2 earnings with financial services being largest money maker (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D launches the 2011 model lineup of 32 bikes vs. 38 the prior year (Link: HERE)

August
1.    H-D announces closure of sidecar business which operated since 1914 (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D announces 1-MILLION fans on Facebook (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D sold back MV Agusta to its previous owners (Link: HERE)
4.    H-D announces that after 31 years they’ve parted ways with PR firm Carmichael Lynch (Link: HERE)

September
1.    Erik Buell releases teaser ads promoting a new street bike based on 1190RR (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D gives away free posters of any of their 32 models (Link: HERE)
3.    H-D under threat of moving out of state announces ratified 7-year labor agreement (Link: HERE)
4.    H-D “spins” the fact that massive branding efforts result in a 24% brand value decline (Link: HERE)

October
1.    H-D reports Q3 earnings with motorcycle sales declining 7.7% worldwide and 14.4% in the U.S. (Link: HERE)

November
1.    H-D management “negotiates” with Kansas City plant to accept a new labor agreement or we’ll leave state (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D turns down a $25M tax credit deal by Wisconsin State (Link: HERE)

December
1.    H-D never disclosed a $2.3 BILLION deal with Federal Reserve (Link: HERE)
2.    H-D announces first ever “Crowd Sourcing” for new marketing ideas (Link: HERE)

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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