Case Study :: Kamloops Harley-Davidson

We do a fair amount of work for different sized Advertising Agencies. They often come to us for production or casting, but we do have many cases where they simply want a fresh take on their client’s creative.

We do that.

In a lot of cases, the client never knows we are doing the commercials. It is, in fact, a joint effort with the agency, but we wither start the project – or fix it.

In this project from 2011, we were hired to create a radio campaign for Kamloops Harley-Davidson that spoke not directly to the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle owner, but those who wanted to own a Harley. To us, it was simple: Create the desire, and then tell the listener (the target client) they could have it.

Sometimes we write and write and write and then we throw everything out and start over. It’s a sign to us that we’re trying to hard. We’re trying to create what is already known. And sometimes we get it on the first pass. This campaign simply appeared on the screen. It’s a special treat when that happens, but that’s not the end of the road. Now it needs agency approval, and then client approval.

After a few tweaks, we found middle ground on the message – which was only really altered by co-op/brand regulations (you can’t say “Harley” in a commercial. It has to be “Harley-Davidson Motorcycle” – that’s called Brand Protection), we started on production.

When I selected the talent, I had a very different read in mind that what we have in the final commercials. But that’s something I learned a long time ago – don’t over-direct. The talent gave us a very interesting Southern drawl, a la Sam Elliott – without imitating. We never want imitation from talent. We want acting! And we got it! Next was to add in authentic Harley-Davidson Motorcycle sound effects, a great music score and WHAM! – two commercials we still love more than 18 months later.

In the end, it was a fairly direct message – “you can own a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle”. The real challenge was maintaining the image while appealing to the non-customer – the rider who rode a British, German, Italian or Japanese motorcycle. We did that simply by singling them out and speaking their language – riding something incredible!

What would we have done differently? We would have cut back on some of the wordiness. But when you aren’t able to sell the concept directly to the client, and when there are strict brand/co-op requirements, you have to accept that in the end, you get paid, and you get to walk away with another project that was done well.

Here are two of the commercials we completed for the campaign. (All creative is copyright Great 2012 and is protected by international copyright laws. It  may not be copied or reused without written permission.)

Kamloops Harley Davidson – Not Cost More (020811)
Kamloops Harley Davidson – In Your Future (020811)