My friend Pete Kearney, a player in the Madison Avenue ad game, recently sent me this:

Congratulations, Harley. After getting the axe from your agency of record for three decades, you rebound with this claptrap, then follow up with more detailed follies in Forbes:

It has always been my opinion that Harley doesn't engage young consumers in an honest, meaningful way. Skulls and chrome masquerading as image and innovation seem silly—not the stuff two generations of brand- and performance-savvy 20- and 30-somethings are likely to embrace. But if what H-D CMO Mark-Hans Richer says is true, I was wrong:

Nine percent sales growth in a cynical niche like the one Richer highlights is outstanding, and speaks to what I've been saying for years: Harley should give up the fake badboy bullshit and just build stripped-down motorcycles for no-frills riders. Unfortunately, The Motor Company seems to have no problem screwing these young adults in the ass. Given conditions with employment and the economy, a 21% increase on the sticker price of a base model Sportster between '07 to '10 is egregious. I sell motorcycle stuff too, and we lowered our MSRP's nearly 15% on some items during the same period. Surely the PM's and CFO's at H-D are at as capable of cost cutting as a military vet, a middle-aged bike geek and a San Diego honey boy, right?

And while we're on the subject, what IS the shop rate for free creative services from Serbian single moms, anyway?

Victors & Spoils, indeed.


Allen said...

Every "young" kid I run into (cause I'm 41 now, and not a kid no more damit!) who's bought one of these base model blow jobs (read: overpriced sportster) has done so out of nothing but ignorance (and I don't mean dumb). Just that they did not fully understand what the were buying v. what they intended on getting (i.e. cool factor). Some of them are just happy to have a bike, but the other 90% do nothing but try to customize, accessorize, actually chop with friends assistance or self taught, talk about reselling (cuase it's always going to go UP in value), or end up parking it and not riding it. Of course, I'm old and don't get out so much anymore, so in HD's opinion I'm wrong and bagger target zoned. Hell, I'm no sportster expert anyway.

bmxcollector said...

HD has been building and selling stripped down models for years. FLHT, FXD and base XL12's and 883's. The increase in sales to the younger demographic came after those models were eliminated. The driving model in that demo has been the Nightster as well as a huge upswing in young people buying Baggers. Specifically the FLHX. I support the idea of cheap entry level Harley's but historically they have not been a big source of sales revenue and given the current trend in HD's advertising I can't see that changing.