It’s been a while since we’ve visited the archives of advertising gold.
In the 50s, the Harley-Davidson brand stood for wild, tough, macho adventure and rebellion. But somewhere along the way, the company lost its mojo and floundered for decades until recovering in the 90s. Precisely when and how did the Harley brand go wrong?
I’d put my money on the day these ads came out:
Perhaps, in retrospect, marketing the Harley as a dweeb-mobile that even Aunt Beulah can ride was a tactical error. The Aunt Beulah and finger-pointing salesman markets never warmed to the Harley and the rebels without a cause didn’t exactly appreciate being lumped in with these squares.
And thus an icon’s years in the wilderness began . . .