Harley marketing efforts to continue in March Madness

New campaign seeks to pass brand to new generation

A screenshot from the Harley-Davidson commercial "One Day" set to air during March Madness.

Harley-Davidson will launch a new marketing campaign Thursday during broadcasts of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as part of its ongoing efforts to drive demand for its motorcycles through customer-facing marketing.

A screenshot from the Harley-Davidson commercial "One Day" set to air during March Madness.
A screenshot from the Harley-Davidson commercial “One Day” set to air during March Madness.

The “Live Your Legend” campaign marks the first time the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker has launched a campaign during the tournament, although it has previously run commercials during March Madness.

The campaign aims to show “how a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle can enable riders to create deeper bonds and share richer experiences,” according to a release announcing the campaign. The first ad, titled “One Day” shows a father and his young son sharing a bong with the dad on a Harley-Davidson Low Rider S and the son on his tricycle.

Shelley Paxton, Harley-Davidson vice president of global marketing and brand, said the campaign was inspired by generations of Harley riders.

“Riders have told us what they experience on Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” she said. “It’s the freedom, the adventure, the bonds and living life on your own terms – that’s the legacy this campaign encourages all of us to pass along.”

The campaign comes at the start of Harley’s selling season and the company feels the NCAA tournament allows for an appeal to a wide audience in the United States.

“‘Live Your Legend’ is designed to inspire a new generation of riders to invest in experiences today that will build a richer legacy for themselves and those around them,” Paxton said.

The first on-air broadcast will occur during tournament games Thursday and will continue through the Elite 8 round of games. It will then expand to other regions and markets through a variety of marketing channels, including South by Southwest and Harley’s partnership with the UFC.

The campaign will also include print and online media, enthusiast and lifestyle media outreach, social media, direct marketing and retail promotions.

Harley announced a $70 million increase in its efforts to drive demand through customer-facing marketing, increased dealership and ridership numbers and increasing the cadence and impact of new products.

The plan includes a 65 percent increase over 2015 levels in spending on customer-facing marketing. Much of the efforts are aimed at attracting a younger and more diverse group of riders to the company’s brand.

The number of motorcycles Harley shipped worldwide was down 1.3 percent in 2015 to 266,382. The company hopes to increase that number to between 269,000 and 274,000 in 2016.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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