Harley-Davidson Crowdsources Advertising on Facebook

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Ever since Harley-Davidson split with its long-time ad agency Carmichael Lynch, I’ve been increasingly impressed with the Bar & Shield’s advertising efforts. Sure there are still some of the old marketing images that make the American in me want to go tortfeasor on the first Harley-Davidson dealership I drive by, but you’ve got to give Harely one thing, its trying. Dipping its toe into the crowdsourcing philosophy of ad creation, Harley-Davidson has already produced some fairly good ads like its “No Cages” campaign, and is hoping to build on that success.

Seeing traction with the “No Cages” campaign, Harley-Davidson has taken things a step further, and will now be able to crowdsource ideas directly from Facebook. Launching a Facebook app for the new social-collaboration, Harley-Davidsons fans on Facebook can now read the company’s advertising brief, submit ideas to Harley-Davidson, and vote on ideas submitted by other community members. While crowdsourcing advertising creative has been called evil (mostly by the people whose jobs are threatened by the collaborative movement), the plan here is pretty ingenious.

Not only will Harley-Davidson fans be involved further with the Harley-Davidson lifestyle, but since the vetting process on the ad campaigns comes from the Milwaukee loyal, the ad spots will be more relevant and on-message than if they came from non-motorcyclists. There is also presumably a cost-savings factor here as well. The only real downside that I can see with this move is the problem capturing people that aren’t already in the Harley-Davidson club, or worse, not even motorcyclists.

Using Harley-Davidson Facebook fans as a source pool creates a sampling problem, where the fans lobbying ideas have presumably already bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, or are fans of the brand. The challenge of brining in new blood, something Harley-Davidson needs to do desperately, still remains a problem. Of course this is just one piece in a larger puzzle, and you have to hand it to the stuffy big-wigs in Milwaukee, they’ve been learning some new tricks lately.

Source: Dealer News