Harley-Davidson ads turn philosophical

Harley ads

Harley-Davidson has long been a great promoter of its brand and its latest video ads are no exception with an appeal to the psychological wellbeing of riding.

This first ad shows the stresses of modern life and cleverly switches to how riding shatters all those pressures.

It ends with the simple message: “Breathe. Ride.”

Click here to read more about how riding reduces stress.

We also love this ad where the narrator gets philosophical, but in a very simplistic manner.

“So you’re on this thing and there’s just you and the road and the wind and the trees … and it fills you up.”

The ad talks about the psychological benefits of riding and refers to the physiological release of “happy” chemicals in your body such as dopamine.

Click here to read more about how riding makes you happy.

These two ads from agency Droga5 show a slightly different Harley.

Gone are the Easy Rider and outlaw elements of the past.

Freedom is still at the core of the message, but it’s a message that is targeted at today’s techno society and breaking free from its shackles.

Harley-Davidson Australia marketing guru Keith Waddell says they plan to use the new videos in their “dealer network and also by us centrally”.

Motorcycle adsHonda ads

There have been some great motorcycle ads over the years, including Honda’s “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” from the 1960s.

There have also produce some great funny ads.

But when it comes down to the philosophy of riding, Harley really nails it. Although in recent years it hasn’t resulted in sales.

Other manufacturers either don’t advertise or they don’t get it right.

They are either too macho, too sexist or appeal to the risk element which limits their target audience.

We checked the ASB site for complaints about motorcycle ads and found several that slammed ads because they were sexist, the riders did illegal stunts or they weren’t wearing the correct safety gear.

It seems motorcycle marketers seem to think all riders are neanderthal thrill seekers.

2 Comments

  1. I love the unintentional disclaimer in the second ad, “The magic isn’t about what the bike can do.” Because… Harley.
    Having said that, ads like this are much more likely to get me and many others to consider an HD. Forget the macho bullshit. Riding is fun. Period. As it should be.

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