After 7 years at Media Contacts it’s time for me to take a different route and so here comes this last blog post which is about motorcycles (no surprise there).
At some point in a long journey on two wheels there comes a point where your ass is completely numb, you are oblivious to the speed you are doing and you spend a fair amount of mental energy keeping tracking of mileage, time, weather and shards of truck tires on the road. It would be then I start a mental reflection on how motorcycles can teach you everything you need to know about advertising.
As far as I know there are three brands that people are willing to tattoo on their skin; Hello Kitty, Apple and Harley Davidson. I would like to meet the person who has all three. A tattoo demonstrates a level of commitment to the brand at the extreme end of the spectrum, while at the other end is a simple logo that no one cares about. Where brands sit on this continuum is decided by consumers. Simply; brand strength could be measured by how many people are willing to get the tattoo, how prominent the tattoo would be and how relevant the tattoo is to their lifestyle. Harley probably wins on all three measures.
Buying a motorcycle is not a rational exercise and that is exactly how brands should work. You don’t buy a bike because you need it; you buy it because you want it. Brands work by jamming up your reason and let the lizard part of your brain works its magic. In fact when brands are doing their job really well they not only drive your need to acquire, you to pay a premium to join their world. Sometimes they don’t even put the price tags on the bikes in the showroom. If you have to ask the price; you don’t need it bad enough so in the meantime just have a seat on the saddle and pretend you are on the autobahn for another minute or two.
You express your personality with the brand. Which brings us to targets, brands that understand this mass hysteria look for malleable personality types as their targets, while brands that don’t use broad demographics. Demographics give big meaningless targets, personalities give small insightful targets. Ducatis, Harleys and BMWs appeal to very different niches that are not clear when one thinks about males 24 – 35. One more thing; brands and offers work against each other. If the brand is so good then why do you need to discount it?
Branded content works really well when done right. Sit down and watch Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s The Long Way Around. It’s like a 12 hour commercial which includes the episode where KTM decides to pull out and not supply their bikes. BMW probably could not believe their good fortune.
And lastly; Expect bugs. The faster you go; the bigger the mess is but sometimes that’s what you gotta do.
and lastly I have to say thanks to all the people that every worked at Media Contacts Canada (except that one guy who… well some of us know what he did and really outta keep his pants on). It’s been the best job I ever had, the one I learned the most and the funnest.