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Posts Tagged ‘Privileged’

The first stop in Detroit of Sheen’s My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option variety ‘warlock’ show occurred this past Saturday night.  According to reports thunderous applause at the start, but in about an hour “fans” walked out wanting their money refunded.  Ultimately the conclusion of the first show being — let’s just call it un-winning?

Charlie Sheen made the mistake of thinking the audience was on his side.  That’s what happens when you descend from your showbiz perch, step out of the television and enter the realm of the common man, you find out we’re all equal.  And that if you don’t give a great presentation, we’ll tear you down from your peak.  Don’t think that just because people paid to see you, they’re on your side.  You’re no longer at the mercy of the critics, you’re at the mercy of the public.  A $100 ticket member of the audience is no longer passive, they’ll provide an opinion not only through catcalls and boos, but will tweet and blog as those who care will follow along from home.

For Sheen to play to fewer people over the next 19 cites with even less attention would not only be a PR disaster, but devastating to his pride so, one can only assume there will be some show cancellations.  But, the big story of the past six months is that the people rule.  It happened in the Middle East, it’s happening here.  How long do you expect people to overwork just to make ends meet while an “undeserving” upper class gets to live in an alternative universe?  According to Wikipedia, a humble person is “someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others.”

Is there a H-D motor company lesson here?

If you’re one of the privileged, don’t intersect with the public.  Fly private, live behind a gate or a guard, avoid publicity.  Because the little people are there, waiting to pounce on every misstep?  Then again, what if the motorcycle world is ready for a true leader, who knows all this, who is not beholden to the public so much as cognizant of the landscape and willing to march forward into the future.

Does that describe Harley-Davidson?

Jim Collins, who has spent double digit years researching how certain companies are able to sustain superlative performance and identified a key ingredient — having a Level 5 leader — an executive in whom genuine personal humility blends with intense professional will was essential to take a company from good to great.  Transforming a good company into a great one also included getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus).  In other (my) words, true professionals don’t equate attention with talent.  They don’t equate notoriety with a career.  They don’t equate an initial demand with longevity.  They don’t set themselves up for ridicule because the smell of a stunt stinks worldwide and people (motorcyclists) know what is good.

One of the most common causes of failure once people (or companies) achieve significant success in business is an out of balance ego.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) -- Avatar

We’re always being told how moviegoers set new revenue records during the holiday.

Last weekend not only did the movie industry set the largest single weekend at the box office with three movies topping over $50M each, the blockbuster film from James Cameron, ‘Avatar’ set a new 10 day gross total of $212.7M.  Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you, but how about the fact that the movie has more than 400,000 fans on Facebook?

And though no motorcycles were featured in the movie Harley-Davidson managed to secure a primo clothing promotion from Sam Worthington’s character (Jake Sully) who established an “outlaw” biker image in wearing a H-D logo laden t-shirt in a bar.  More than just a product placement it instantly helped create a rebellious tough guy tone with the audience.  To be candid, I’m not sure I would associate a biker bad boy image with a $35 t-shirt, but like I said it’s a movie.  More important it represents a rare opportunity for Harley-Davidson—a window if you will of opportunity—to be part of something successful and catch some PR/marketing buzz!

Sam Worthington is well known for movie parts with ties to motorcycles.  In Terminator Salvation he played a terminator with amnesia that had motorcycle killing machines based on Ducati’s Hypermotard.  Footage is featured on Ducati’s website, showing the motorcycle terminators being put through their paces during filming.

I’m a fan of James Cameron who is famous for writing and directing successful movies such as Terminator, Aliens and Titanic.  However, as people dropped $15 of their hourly income to absorb the 3D cinematography in ‘Avatar’ — I can’t help but think he’ll be remembered more for being an arrogant ass and reinforcing I’m “privileged” and above the fray.  TMZ posted a video of an alleged “fan” seeking Mr. Cameron’s autograph on an ‘Avatar‘ poster at LAX.  The man is snubbed, threatened and called an ass by the famous and privileged director.  Nice.  Way to put your fans first.

Trying to smooth over the situation musical artist John Mayer wrote a nearly 1,000-word essay on his blog standing up for Mr. Cameron’s a’tude and basically stating it’s okay to be above the fray and crap on the hoi polloi or just ignore the teeming masses… Homey don’t play that no more John.  Never having met the man who ask for Mr. Cameron’s signature, John Mayer quickly assumed he was an e-bay whore.  Now isn’t that fascinating.  Cool that you have an opinion, but talk about the pot calling the kettle black…did you ever stop to think that selling yourself out to corporations and shilling products works for more than just a musician?  Hypothetically even if the guy was going to sell it on e-bay.  So what?  Step down from your mega-million-$$ ivory towers and mix with the regular people.  How much do you think H-D paid Cameron to use that t-shirt?!

Celebrities and musicians are beholden to their audience, the public, and the consumers.  And despite the undeniable pain of the global recession we have been willing to plunk down hard earned $$ to keep you famous for another fifteen minutes!   We’ll forgive the mistake… make apologies and continue to try and get it right in the future.  If not, then we all live with brand new rules because it’s an era of immediacy and 24 hour news cycles.  You’re now in the pit with your customers and if you want to escape the groupies then you’ll have to live in a bathroom with the lights out!

Photo courtesy of Fox.

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