Harley comes together with fans, media for anniversary

Harley-Davidson, in its 110th anniversary year, wanted to make a big splash when unveiling its new 2014 motorcycles.


Project Rushmore
Agency mix

Weber Shandwick (traditional PR); VSA (TV ads); Wolfes (print ads); SapientNitro (website); Digitas (digital ads/social media); Starcom MediaVest (media buys)
In-house team
Mark-Hans Richer, SVP and CMO. North America team: Scott Beck, GM of marketing; Dino Bernacchi, director of marcomms; Mark Peine, group manager, advertising and promotions; Mike Roach, director of consumer influence. Mike McCann, director, core customer marketing, and Jennifer Hoyer, media relations manager


Harley-Davidson, in its 110th anniversary year, wanted to make a big splash when unveiling its new 2014 motorcycles.

During Harley's annual dealer meeting on August 19, Bill Davidson, great grandson of company cofounder William Davidson, hosted an SMT on a motorcycle. While riding the bike, he conducted about 25 interviews with outlets such as the Armed Forces Radio Network, Fox, and Motorcycle.com.

The stunt unveiled the bikes' new features, such as GPS navigation, on-motorcycle phone, and voice recognition and touchscreen equipment for music, selected through Harley's consumer in-sights effort, Project Rushmore.

Following the launch, the company held a three-day celebration in Milwaukee from August 29 to September 1, with many activities and performances from 60 musicians, including Kid Rock and Aerosmith.

The campaign also includes a commercial, and after Harley selected The Beatles' "Come Together" for the spot, it used crowdsourcing to select a band to contemporize the song, eventually choosing Irish rhythm and blues band The Strypes.

"The song represents a coming together with our fans," says Dino Bernacchi, director of marcomms for North America.

The motorcycle company will leverage its partnerships with FX's Sons of Anarchy and the Ultimate Fighting Championship throughout the year, and launch a promotion with Marvel's Thor: The Dark World.

In Q4, the company will select a handful of social media influencers, both Harley and non-Harley riders, and have them try out the new motorcycles and give honest opinions of the experience on social platforms.

"We are planning to excavate some new terrific content with all these social influencers that is as authentic as our brand," explains Bernacchi.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in