ZULU ALPHA KILO, Toronto / HARLEY DAVIDSON / 2017
Car and motorcycle advertising in Canada tends to fall into one of two categories: flashy, big budget brand campaigns or tactical price promotion ads.
To get millennials talking about Harley-Davidson we couldn’t do either. Rather than shout at them with ads we decided to offer them a unique experience that would be share-worthy in their social networks.
And so the first ever ‘1903 – A Harley-Davidson® Café’ was born in a trendy downtown Toronto neighbourhood popular with riders. The name‘1903’ was an ode to the year the company was founded and the café a nod to café racer culture of the 1960s.
Part retail, part experiential, and part media vehicle, the Café was a showroom of new riders could really appreciate. No hard sell. Just great coffee, a great space to hang, and plenty of beautiful bikes, and bike-inspired design to pique their interest.
Fanatical attention to detail was applied to every inch of the interior design of the cafe. Vintage photos unearthed from Harley’s archives and historical versions of the iconic logo where used to create artwork for the walls. Hammered metal, weathered barn board and leather formed our materials palette. Local artists were commissioned to contribute works commemorating the company’s 114-year history. Coffee brews served were named after flagship bikes. Coffee grinds were used to screen-print posters with a custom coffee ink.
While enjoying a macchiato, people could peruse through the museum style display of urban Harley models showcased alongside classic models. At the back of the Café they could attend a wrenching workshop or test out a new urban model, where the garage doors opened out into the graffiti-filled back alleyway.
After two years of declining sales, Harley saw an increase of 5.5%.
The 1903 Café garnered over 50 million national impressions, surpassing our goal by over 520%. With 27.2 million earned impressions, we surpassed that goal by 240%.
We saw a massive shift in our social following – our under-35 reach increased by 429%, now representing 53% of fans compared with 8% pre-cafe.
Finally, the Café is being held up globally by Harley as an innovative and effective way to engage a new generation of riders. Plans are now underway to bring the concept to other markets.
OGILVY & MATHER RIGHTFORD SEARLE-TRIPP & MAKIN, Cape Town