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Advert in 2012 – Nothing can replace the real one. Use original Harley-Davidson parts.

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

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley-Davidson Out-Performers

The 1970 Harley-Davidson Out-Performers

In the last few years Harley-Davidson has been known to confront stereotypes in their advertising.

Think “E Pluribus Unum” campaign which means “Out of many, one”, and it is promoting the uniqueness of the Harley-Davidson riders.  Or how about the “No Cages” campaign which puts “real” Harley riders in the spotlight, to reinforce the image of what you think about motorcycle riders.

If nothing else the motor company should get credit, it does have a highly developed capacity to adapt their business to change.  In the mid-70’s, A.M.F. went too far when it replaced the Harley name with its own.  Apparently unaware of the magnitude of that marketing decision.

What kept Harley going in those dark days, and what is driving it now, is the fact that the motorcycle it makes is not just a product, but rather the centerpiece of a lifestyle, “Hook”.

So on #TBT (Throwback Thursday) here is a 1970 advert about how Harley-Davidson was Out-performing!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Adbranch.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Low Rider

XLCR Café Racer

The Low Rider model was first released back in 1971.

Harley-Davidson introduced the FXS Low Rider® to the public in Daytona Beach.  With drag style handlebars, unique engine and paint treatments, the Low Rider placed the rider in a lowered seating position than was typical.  Then later that year, Willie G. Davidson penned a version of the Sportster, called the XLCR Café Racer.  Pronounced “Excelsior” and wearing a small bikini fairing, relatively low handlebars, and blacked-out paint with whitewall tires, the XLCR was only produced for two years.

This was Harley-Davidson’s response to the growing cafe racer and sport bike trend among European and Japanese brands at the time.  It was largely ignored by buyers at launch, but 1977-1979 XLCR models have become somewhat coveted by Harley-Davidson collectors in recent years.

2014 Low Rider

2014 Low Rider

Harley-Davidson executed a redux and brought back a 2014 version of the Low Rider which the motor company promises contained “old school class and exciting new performance.”  It’s got the Harley Twin Cam 103 engine and features dual front disc brakes, a 2-into-1 exhaust, and traditional Harley styling.  The ergonomics of the new Low Rider have been enhanced to provide the most comfortable ride possible.

The SuperLow® 1200T is, as the T suggests, more of a touring machine. It runs the Evolution V-Twin engine — but weighs an advertised 118 pounds less than the company’s lightest Big Twin touring bike — and comes standard with a detachable windshield, locking saddlebags and Michelin® Scorcher™ 11T touring tires.  The machines got their official public unveiling at this year’s Daytona Bike Week festivities… a bit of déjà vu’ from 1977.

Photos courtesy of H-D.  XLCR Club (HERE).

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Posse-BadgeSo much land to explore and so many roads to ride.

In 1997 H.O.G. introduced the concept of a Posse Ride: a challenging, two-week or longer ride across America.

Basically the Posse Ride was built off the original Route 66 ride.  With little hype they’d announce a general plan and their point of departure and a handful of riders would show up.  It became popular with the culmination of benefits of adventure and low cost.  The first Posse Ride was born.

2007 Posse Ride Packet

2007 Posse Ride Packet

It’s important to note that back in 1997, the H.O.G. National Rally was being held in Portland, Oregon. The H.O.G. leadership, Mike Keefe and Joe Dowd decided between the two of them that to ride coast-to-coast from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine would be a great adventure.  A start and end, in “Portland” had a sort of poetic symmetry and the cross-country ride was set.  In fact, the local talent of Francine West and The High Speed Wobblers—yes, the same folks who today continue to support the annual Shriners Toy Run Benefit—entertained the H.O.G. members at what was then known as Key Largo.  A palms and Piña Coladas music club under the Burnside bridge back in the day.

And then there was the “Posse Oath” which provides an example of a spontaneous product that has since become a ritual of the ride.  The notion of a Posse Oath was thematically drawn from scenes of the “Old West”, wherein the local sheriff would swear-in a posse prior to pursuing the bad guys. The Posse Oath was incorporated into the first Posse Ride, where it was recited at all participant gatherings.  The oath is considered such an integral part of the rally, in fact, it later appeared as a part of the promotional materials.

The Portland-to-Portland Posse Ride was such a success it immediately got management thinking about a sequel and the rides became so popular that registration filled up and there were many “tag-alongs”—unregistered riders that were branded as “Mavericks.”

The Posse Ride then circled back to its Portland, OR. roots 10 years later (2007).  It started at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in Wilmington, Del., where the festivities included a send-off by The Marshall Tucker Band.  The stops along the ride were Greensburg, PA., Fort Wayne, IN., Dubuque, IA., Duluth, MN., Fargo, ND., Dickenson, ND., Billings, MT., Missoula, MT., Kennewick, WA., and ended in Portland, OR.  This adventure had approximately 800 riders and took place July 13-30, 2007.

And that, as they say… the rest is history!

Photos courtesy of H.O.G.

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