PHD Bikes/Harley Davidson

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From Adweek I found an article that featured the world’s best print campaigns from 2013-2014. Although it is a little dated I found some great work. The client in this ad is PHD Bikes/Harley Davidson. The agency that did this work is Y&R, Prague, Czech Republic. The print ad campaign was awarded 2 Gold Lions Campaign in the Press Lions category.

The campaign uses a piece of historical trivia to have a stylish effect. The purpose of the advertisement is to show the brand selling point that Harley Davidson is a piece of freedom. The use of historical trivial brings out the truth of the selling point that bikes signify freedom, in this case–­­­­­­­the open road.

Although I am not in the market to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle I have researched to find the intended target audience for the campaign to be Caucasian men, ages 35-plus. However, there is a growing market of “outreach” customers consisting of young adults 18-34, women, African-Americans and Hispanics.

The connection between the product’s message and the target’s need is freedom. The campaign communicates to consumers that Harley Davidson bikes symbolize hope that freedom prevails. This message satisfies the need of the target audience to find freedom even in the midst of a life that is consumed by work and responsibilities.

The single most important thing being communicated in the ad: Harley Davidson bikes are a piece of freedom.

The visuals are black and white images form the Second World War. The viewer of the ad would see what a Czech hiding from Nazis would see while peeping through a crack or hole in the house. The images that are seen through… let’s say a keyhole… show Nazis rummaging through household items and possessions. The visual shows the historical trivia that supports the truth of the unique selling point that Harley Davidson bikes signify freedom. The visual communicates the idea that although everything can be taken from someone there is still hope that freedom will prevail.

The copy is very significant for the campaign. Each ad in the campaign tells the story of the Second World War and how it connects to Harley Davidson. The bikes were “parted out” so they wouldn’t be confiscated from the Nazis; however, the bike parts could be put back together to reclaim their freedom. The copy communicates to the readers that Harley Davidson is a piece of freedom in their lives today. The slogan “Piece of Freedom” is a play on the “parted out” bike pieces that were once used to symbolize hope that one day freedom would prevail. In addition to the story and slogan, each ad has a funny line to act as a hook to the story. A few examples include: “They tore Europe to shreds, they couldn’t even assemble a pork,” “They didn’t know right from wrong. Luckily, they also didn’t know an exhaust pipe from a heater,” and “Our ultimate freedom was hiding right under his nose. No, not in that horrible mustache.” These hooks to the historical trivia lighten the mood of the ad and add a humorous twist to a true story with a serious message. The clever lines are much needed.

The media placement as a print ad in relevant magazines communicates the prevailing hope for freedom to consumers who are looking for freedom. Most likely the ad was featured in magazines that have a target audience of Caucasian Men ages 35-plus. The visual execution of the ad (black and white, serious and associated with war) is likely to gain attention by male readers. The intended audience will associate freedom with the Second World War and then associate freedom with their current life. This association influences the audience to buy a motorcycle to reclaim their rightful freedom.

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PHD Bikes/Harley Davidson

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