After my blog on the new Harley Davidson "No Cages" advertisement, I just happened to be browsing a few older Harley Ads on Youtube, and came across this one "Live By It"
Harley Davidson - Live By It
1 We believe in going our own way no matter which way the rest of the world is going.
2 We believe in bucking the system that is built to smash individuals like bugs on a windshield.
3 Some of us believe in the man upstairs, all of us believe in sticking it to the man down here.
4 We believe in the sky and we don't believe in the sun roof.
5 We believe in freedom.
6 We believe in dust, tumble weeds, buffalo, mountain ranges and riding off into the sunset.
7 We believe in saddle bags and we believe that cowboys had it right.
8 We believe in refusing to knuckle under to anyone.
9 We believe in wearing black because it doesn't show any dirt or weakness.
10 We believe the world is going soft and we're not going along with it.
11 We believe in motorcycle rallys that last a week.
12 We believe in roadside attractions, gas station hot dogs and finding out whats over the next hill.
13 We believe in rumbling engines, pistons the size of garbage cans, fuel tanks designed in 1936, freight train sized head lights, chrome and custom paint.
14 We believe in flames and skulls.
15 We believe life is what you make it and we make it one hell of a ride.
16 We believe the machine you sit on can tell the world exactly where you stand.
17 We don't care what everyone else believes.
So it seems to me this new "no cages" ad is actually an improvement over the older "Live By it Ad", which because of it's self important tone is great anti-Harley joke material and is probably embarrassing to most Harley owners. Anyway, here is what I see wrong with this ad, line by line. But especially line 16.
1. Nothing wrong with the first line, probably should have stopped the ad here, but noooooo.
2. This line would be great if it was still 1968. But it isn't, and people who believe this usually didn't buy Harleys anyway. Most Harley customers today consider themselves patriots, not system buckers. Keep up with your customer base!
3. This line about the "man upstairs" is the only line that wimps out from "We believe" to "Some of us believe". The "Stickin it to the man" comment is another 60's misfire, for the same reason as the previous line.
4. Fact: Many Harley riders own pickup trucks, and so "not believing in sunroofs" seems to imply more about the how they order their four wheel vehicles than it does about their choice of a two-wheel lifestyle.
5. This might as well be "We believe in Apple Pie" except that apple pie was a Canadian invention.
6. "Buffalo"? Ever tried to ride a motorcycle in a buffalo herd?
7. "Cowboys had it right"? Weren't they the ones who killed off the buffalo? (see line 6)
9. Wearing black has proven to be more dangerous on the road. But I agree, it does not show dirt. Not black dirt, anyway. However, believing that any other colour shows weakness? Come on.
10. "The world going soft", could refer to the disappearance of kick starters. But Harley went soft along with almost every other motorcycle at least thirty years ago.
11. This is just funny. We like rallies that last a week, apparently we don't believe in rallies that last 6 days or 8 days, though.
I won't go after every line, but I must comment on how line 16 conflicts with the theme of the ad.
16. "The machine you sit on can tell the world exactly where you stand" is the worst line of the ad, why? Because it cancels out the main idea of the ad. To me, "Live by it" means "how you live" is supposed to tell the world where you stand, not the stuff you buy.
I guess it's not surprising that Harley dumped their old ad agency. Even though the "no cages" ad was not that great, the "Live by it" was really embarrassing. Message to the Harley Davidson Motor Company: "Next time you decide to run an ad, prescreen it with "The Lost Motorcyclist". First consultation will be free.