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Posts Tagged ‘Rapper Grillz’

Ludacris

When you dine with the devil, bring a long spoon.” — Machiavelli

Having a ‘thug’ like Ludacris anywhere near your marketing campaign may not be a good thing.  Yet, Harley-Davidson has decided having a pitchman who glamorizes a life of guns, violence, drugs and is disrespectful of women is EXACTLY what’s needed to turn around motorcycle sales.

The “hoes in different area codes” rapper has released many songs that convey and represent his morals.  Even President Obama said he wouldn’t let his daughters listen to his rap, but did admit Ludacris was a ‘great businessman’.  Political pandering is not my point here.

Recently H-D collaborated with RIDES Magazine to create custom bikes for recording artists Ludacris and Shawnna.  This promotion was in part to gear up for the release of their album “Battle of the Sexes”, where the artists worked with RIDES and “New York Nick” Genender, shop owner of NYC Choppers, to create bikes that reflect their individual personalities.  There is a behind-the-scenes video of the build HERE and more videos/photos can be viewed at RIDES.  In addition, they’re giving away a motorcycle to one lucky winner: a customized 2010 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom, created in part with suggestions by RIDES readers. Learn more about the bike or enter for a chance to win HERE.

Is this a shrewd advertising move to use a pitchman who’s going to draw attention to a community that H-D wants to sell motorcycles to or is this a mistake to promote and associate the H-D trademarks with a person that espouses violence, degrading sex and substance abuse?

Does anyone remember how fast Pepsi pulled the ‘musician’ from its soft-drink advertisements in 2002?

Photo courtesy of H-D and RIDE.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Carl (CJ) Hanlon

Carl (CJ) Hanlon

I’m talking motorcycles not the sought-out customizers that make – “grills” – you know it as mouth bling or Rapper Grillz…i.e. gold teeth!   Sometimes referred to as plates, shines or caps that glitter with diamonds on a person’s upper teeth.

But I’ve digressed… a couple weeks ago I posted an article about Hispanic Trends at H-D and received several comments.  One in particular which was well written and concise came from Carl (CJ) Hanlon of Orlando, FL-based Guilty Customs.  I made a mental note to do more research when I had time on the company and the person behind the custom choppers.

Previously an ex-banker and marketing exec at Disney, CJ spends time these days building affordable custom bikes .  I like their work which is artistic yet not overdone and functional everywhere you look.  CJ doesn’t describe himself as a “master builder” or does he make comparisons with the industry icons, but claims to be just a “Joe builder” with a lot of passion for the industry, a skillful team and a ‘dab’ of talent.

Similar to how music sounds different in everyone’s ears, I’m of the viewpoint that bike style – design, colors and proportions – the overall looks — is a personal matter and is what influenced the custom scene in the first place.  I’m not a fan of $100K+ “theme” bikes from OCC that the corporate world can’t seem to buy enough.  But, good for them as I need something to watch during summer re-runs.  Personally I like old school bobbers that are not overweight or over-hyped, but to each his own.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council the top 7 commercial bike builders accounted for 91% of all cycles sold in the U.S.  It’s no wonder that today’s custom builders either suffer the fate of a dying breed on one end of the spectrum or go the corporate empire of cookie cutter “choppers” who try and saturate the market on the other end.  Maintaining a profitable middle-ground looks to be a challenge which few seem to achieve.  However, in spite of the economy, Guilty Customs has increased their bike builds.  No assembly line here and the customs are meant to be ridden, not sit in a showroom.

I can only wish for a custom at this point since I’m heavily invested in the Road King, but if and when I make a chopper commit I’ll be considering Guilty Customs.  Keep up the great work CJ.

Photo courtesy of PRWeb and CJ Hanlon.

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