Halloween’s coming, and with it “mischief night”—which means it’s the season for pranks. And being on a Friday night this year means egged houses and toilet-papered trees are the order of the day for the mischievous.
Did you know that Harley-Davidson has been pulling clever pranks for years? All with the intent of snagging the attention of often-distracted online observers/customers.
This phenomenon, has a name now—“prankvertising”—which has really ramped up in recent years, perhaps because of Halloween or maybe because agencies like doing the unorthodox and testing consumer limits.
The photo with this blog post is an in your face example that mashes all the politically incorrect buttons. Some would debate it provides confirmation of how completely out of touch Harley-Davidson is or was in deploying this image as a visual ‘joke.’
Is the motorcycle culture’ a petri dish of people who know so little about human social interaction and how professional life works that advertising agencies can concoct up this stuff straight-faced, thinking there are no consequences?
I’m sure some of you will view this as demeaning, insulting and extremely sexist. Harley-Davidson on the other hand and their agency (Big), didn’t think they were objectifying or exploiting women in this ad or even blink by portraying women and comparing them to a motorcycle part, and picturing them as sex toys.
Full Disclosure: My initial reaction when I first saw the ad and tag line, “Nothing can replace the real one. Use original Harley-Davidson parts,” was to laugh out loud and marvel at the clever humor, but then political correctness kicked in and I made a note that advertising agencies should really realize their responsibility towards society and their target audience. Given Harley-Davidson’s significant outreach to the woman demographic for motorcycle sales it’s highly unlikely you’ll see something like this again.
Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson and Big, İstanbul, Turkey
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