Octopus TV Failure Awards – Harley-Davidson eau de toilette “Hog Wash” by Andrew Eborn
Andrew Eborn is a lawyer, strategic business adviser, producer, writer, presenter, magician and speaker. Andrew has specialised in international licensing and global rights’ management for several years and has been actively involved with the negotiation, acquisition and international exploitation of various major licences enabling companies to maximise the return on their rights as well as assisting with the strategic development of their international businesses and the generation of additional revenue streams
In this weekly series, Andrew Eborn, Founder of the Octopus TV Failure Awards, shines a light on the products and services, brand extensions and campaigns that failed to take off and have as a result earned entry into the Octopus TV Failure Awards.
As Andrew points out “We always celebrate success whilst hiding the failures that led to that success. The Octopus TV Failure Awards finally give failure the attention it deserves. If necessity is the mother of invention then failure is the father of success. From failed products and services to campaigns and ads we would rather forget, we want to encourage organisations and brands to be better at learning from failures not just ignoring them and pretending they never happened.”
Thank you for all of your nominations so far. Keep ‘em coming! Send your nominations now together with full description and images to TOFA@OctopusTV.com
This week in our series on nominees for The Octopus TV Failure Awards (TOFA) we look at a product from an iconic brand no doubt made dizzy by the sweet smell of success and hoping to bottle that scent - Legendary Harley-Davidson eau de toilette
Harley-Davdson is the embodiment of the American dream. Harley’s history is perfect movie fodder … (watch this space)
In 1901 a 21 year old William S. Harley completed a blueprint drawing of an engine designed for use with a regular pedal bicycle. Over the next 2 years William S Harley continued work on this “motor bike” together with his childhood friend Arthur Davidson and his brother Walter Davidson. They used the north side Milwaukee machine shop/shed at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. The first Harley-Davidson® motorcycle was finished in 1903.
That first motor cycle was, however, not powerful enough to climb the hills around Milwaukee, Wisconsin without additional pedal assistance. Work therefore continued on producing a more powerful engine and loop-frame design moving from the motorised bicycle lane to the super highway of future motorcycle designs.
Harley-Davidson incorporated in 1907. In that year William Davidson quit his job with the Milwaukee Road Railroad to join forces with his two brothers and Harley. Harley-Davidson began hiring employees and by the end of the decade was producing bikes using its signature 45-degree air-cooled V-Twin.
Racing – without pulling a ham string
In 1914 Harley-Davidson started motor racing enjoying considerable success. In 1922 Harley-Davidson riders went on to sweep all eight National Championship Races.
RACER RAY WEISHAAR WITH PIG MASCOT
HOG The “hog” association started in 1920 when a team of farm boys, including Ray Weishaar, used to do a victory lap with the racing team’s mascot, a pig, after each race won by the team.
On August 15, 2006, Harley-Davidson Inc. had its NYSE ticker symbol changed from HDI to HOG.
Elvis Presley poses for the cover of the May Enthusiast sitting on a 1956 model KH.
Today Harley-Davidson employs more than 6,000 people and generates sales of US$6 billion. According to Forbes Harley is ranked #97 in Best employers for women 2019 https://www.forbes.com/companies/harley-davidson/ Its corporate headquarters are located near the site of the famous shed where William S. Harley and the Davidson brothers created the first motor bike, just west of downtown Milwaukee.
Living Pieces of American History
Harley-Davidson are proud of their motorcycles and the loyalty and passion generated – and rightly so:
“For us and for our loyal customers, the motorcycles we build aren't just motorcycles. They are living pieces of American history, mystique on two wheels. They are the vehicle with which our riders discover the power, the passion, and the people that define the Harley-Davidson Experience.” http://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_GB/company/becoming-a-dealer/the-company.html
To make America great again you would ride in on a Harley.
Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead and Evolution®
“From the very earliest days, Harley-Davidson has favoured evolution of its powerful engines over radical change. The Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead and Evolution® engines are all deeply immersed in the heritage of the Motor Company and the hearts of our enthusiasts. The Twin Cam 96® and Twin Cam 96B™ engines are now securing their own place in company folklore while the powerful Revolution® engine in the stunning V-Rod® motorcycle is taking Harley-Davidson down roads never travelled before.”
Harley Owners Group®
In addition to providing support to their dealers through national advertising campaigns and promotions, Harley-Davidson offer numerous programmes designed to drive customers into their dealerships.
The Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G.®, ( Gedditt? Got It? Good! ) is the largest manufacturer sponsored motorcycle club in the world and it continues to grow.
Events, Rental & Tour Experiences
To provide additional revenue streams as well as promotion for the brand, Harley-Davidson put on various events and have an impressive rentals and tours’ programme recognising that “a positive rental or tour experience is a logical step toward ownership.”
Brand Mythology & Lovemark Loyalty
As Kevin Roberts, Saatchi and Saatchi’s former worldwide chief executive officer and Chairman pointed out the most powerful brands are those that have built their own mythology. Truly successful brands don’t have ‘trademarks’ they have ‘lovemarks’.
Harley-Davidson was cited by Kevin Roberts, as a perfect example of a “lovemark” (Fast Company magazine’s September 2000 issue}
Branded with the brand
Harley-Davidson customers are undoubtedly passionate about the brand. Some proudly sport tattoos of the Harley-Davidson logo. A HOG tattoo is so much more powerful than a Peppa Pig tattoo for all you swinestone cowboys out there….
Motorcycle merchandise madness
Like many brands, Harley-Davidson offer a range of products with a smaller price tag than their bikes. This helps drive footfall to the dealerships as well as provide additional revenue streams and keeps the aspiration of a Harley ownership alive.
Harley-Davidson have been selling clothing designed for both on-road and off-road use since 1912. Dealers now have a variety of items “created to appeal to a variety of taste” and bring both riders and non-riders to dealerships to “greatly enhance.. profitability”.
Today, from Harley-Davidson® MotorClothes® to licensed merchandise, dealers are provided with a variety of items to choose from. From an extensive line of stylish Harley-Davidson® and Buell® clothing designed by motorcyclists to a broad range of Harley-Davidson® and Buell collectibles.
Want to get married overlooking a show room full of America’s favourite motor cycles?
Everything is possible!
In fact I walked one of my sisters, Rebecca “Little Smig”, down the aisle and gave her away– what a bargain ! - to Adrian at the Harley-Davidson Café in Las Vegas. http://lasvegasharleydavidsonweddings.com/
Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….
The not so sweet smell of success
Brand loyalty is the Holy Grail for businesses. Testing that loyalty can, however, be dangerous…
In 1994 Legendary Harley-Davidson eau de toilette http://www.basenotes.net/ID26120977.html was launched under licence https://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Harley-Davidson/Legendary-Harley-Davidson-17457.html
This was a brand extension too far. Many customers who loved Harley-Davidson hated the Disneyfication of the brand.
Joe Hice, former director of corporate communications for Harley-Davidson, acknowledged the failure: "Over the years we've tried a number of different approaches to merchandising and have put the Harley-Davidson brand on some things that in retrospect we may not have been well-advised to do. The company is much more selective today about how we go about extending the brand”
Why did it fail? Brand extensions can be very successful, enabling new products to be introduced under a well-established existing brand name.
As I pointed out, when looking at Colgate Lasagne https://dailysport.co.uk/news/reviews/the-failure-awards-for-defunct-branding-colgate-lasange/ generally, to benefit from the existing brand the new products need to be consistent with core brand values and customer perceptions and expectations. What values and expectations are conjured up when customers think of Colgate? Colgate is strongly associated with health and oral hygiene. The very name and logo instantly suggest that fresh, minty taste. Associating the brand with food was clearly not going to work. Who wants toothpaste flavoured pasta?
So what values and expectations are conjured up when customers think of Harley-Davidson?
As Charles ”Chuck” Brymer, former chief executive officer of the Interbrand Group and now President of DDB Worldwide points out ‘Harley-Davidson values are strong, masculine, very rugged ..for Harley-Davidson to go into a sector that doesn’t live up to what those values are would be disastrous.’
A Harley-Davidson perfume for all those who want to smell like bikers - hot and sweaty from getting their kicks on Route 66?? !!
Even a French voice over in the ad purring about ‘arley Davidson failed to destroy the sensory association – Do you really want to smell like a Harley?
A Harley-Davidson shampoo with that fresh petrol aroma for really oily hair?
Harley-Davidson Toothpaste for that snoggable HOG’s breath…. ??
Lessons to be learned
I have had the pleasure of working with the strategic development of brands for several years including assisting with the generation of additional revenue streams.
Properly executed, brand extensions undoubtedly work. It is essential, however, that businesses understand the true nature of their brand.
Line extensions inconsistent with brand values can be disastrous and also adversely affect other core products.
Jurassic Pork Don’t alienate your core customers. As with reputation and trust, loyalty and lovebands take years to build but can be destroyed in seconds
Testing loyalty by seeking to squeeze every dime from fans through inappropriate licensed products may not only result in brand dilution but also loss of customers - the life blood of your brand.
Less is often so much more. Slapping your brand on as many products as possible is a mistake and merely serves to devalue your brand.
The very name Harley-Davidson conjures up strong feelings and associations. The idea of Harley-Davidson perfume, however, stinks. It’s the pits!
Pigs might fly before the HOG perfume would ever take off. It's had its bacon.
Market research would make it clear that this is a brand extension way too far. It would not take Ein-swine to figure that out….
There's no sizzle in that sausage. It’s HOG Wash!
For that reason Legendary Harley-Davidson eau de toilette is this week’s nomination for The Octopus TV Failure Awards.
See you next week for more fantastically fabulous failures ….
© Andrew Eborn 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewEborn and @OctopusTV
Send your nominations now
From failed products and services to campaigns and ads we would rather forget, we want to encourage organisations and brands to be better at learning from failures not just ignoring them and pretending they never happened.
Send your nominations with full description and images to TOFA@OctopusTV.com
In addition to international recognition and glittering prizes the winners will receive the much valued TOFA Andrew Eborn is a lawyer, strategic business adviser, producer, writer, presenter, magician and speaker. Andrew has specialised in international licensing and global rights’ management for several years and has been actively involved with the negotiation, acquisition and international exploitation of various major licences enabling companies to maximise the return on their rights as well as assisting with the strategic development of their international businesses.
© Andrew Eborn 2019 A
LL RIGHTS RESERVED