Harley-Davidson 2011 Promise. A Whole New way To Design, Build And Personalize Your Harley.

On December 9th, 2010 I revealed that Harley-Davidson would launch a factory customization program called H-D1. From paint job to accessories, this program will let buyers personalize their new bike (Sportster only?) with a selection of Harley options, and this before their bike arrives at the dealership. Some of you commented and some dealers told me that they were somewhat skeptical of this new marketing approach. I don’t have all details regarding this new customization program done at the factory, except the official launch date set at February 2, 2011. Maybe it’s a good marketing concept. What I am skeptical of is the efficiency of this just released Harley commercial. It is supposed to be a teaser campaign to get clients excited. Watch it, and tell me if you are. I am not! The concept of being prisoner of one motorcycle design and of freeing yourself is poorly executed. From my point of view, the worst Harley commercial in a long time…

Added January 3, 2011 at 6pm EST: Not surprisingly, after reading my post and your negative comments, the executives of Harley-Davidson just decided to remove the feed of their video on YouTube. It explains to black screen that you are now seeing when you try to start it. It just shows the power of your comments in my Blog… 

56 Responses to “Harley-Davidson 2011 Promise. A Whole New way To Design, Build And Personalize Your Harley.”

  1. 1 Jeremy Jan 2nd, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Good or bad idea, I agree that it’s a very bad video.

  2. 2 Brian Jan 2nd, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Understand nothing about the message!

  3. 3 Robert Sentz Jan 2nd, 2011 at 9:12 am

    No more working with an advertising agency. Only crowdsourcing to conceive ads. Complete failure at 1st try..

  4. 4 Greg Jan 2nd, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I think they were trying to say that they would free you from your cage with this new program…or maybe not.

    I’m skeptical about this new venture. It seems that they will give up alot of traffic to dealerships after the purchase of the bike. Traffic that often results in high margin sales of apparel, parts, etc.

  5. 5 Jacob Jan 2nd, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I agree that this commercial accomplishes niI. I, also, wonder who the target audience was intended to be. Has the Motor Company lost complete contact with Harley enthusiasts?

  6. 6 Jeff Nicklus Jan 2nd, 2011 at 11:23 am

    What the hell was that about …. they should fire their advertising company … that sucks!

    Over & Out,


  7. 7 Gas Man Jan 2nd, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Definitely not the best ad for sure. Which sucks because normally HD commercials are pretty decent.

  8. 8 Bago Jan 2nd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Harley’s ad agency fired Harley towards the end of 2010. They were with HD for 31 years.

    Read this.

    Remember, you get what you pay for.

  9. 9 Robin Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    What a lack of creativity! Dramatic.

  10. 10 Freddie Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    terrible !

  11. 11 Seymour Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    As far as the customization concept goes, here is the way I see it. Assuming the buyer begins the process with the MSRP for whatever bike he is having customized, does the buyer still receive all of the stock parts that were replaced? If not, if you’re not getting them, why should you pay for them?

    Otherwise, I echo Robert’s sentiment.

  12. 12 Bernie McCley Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Is there an award for worst in advertising? And they paid somebody to do this? Harley is lost.

  13. 13 Brett Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Hey, Cyril. I know you have a strong background in advertising. They should call you or call them with your idea.

  14. 14 J Jan 2nd, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    ROFLMAO! I always wondered what those ad guys that worked the original Infiniti commercials wound up doing….

    Amazing that this lesson is always lost: In an ad, SHOW your product……

    Harley management is truly lost……..

  15. 15 J Jan 2nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    LOL- remember those early Infiniti “Don’t show the car” ads? NIce to see those ad guys can still find jobs….

    Harley management is just clueless……

  16. 16 Greg Jan 2nd, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Totally agree with Bernie.

    Buy a select group of Harley enthusiasts Flip HD cameras and let them shoot “What Harley is to me”. You would have 100 years worth of commercials better than this.

  17. 17 Dave Blevins Jan 2nd, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Yep, pretty bad.

  18. 18 DK Jan 2nd, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Reminds me of a bad night in the drunk tank.

  19. 19 Shifter Jan 2nd, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    OMG. It’s so bad. For sure this video will not go viral on the web. Shame on you Harley. Trash it.

  20. 20 2Low Jan 2nd, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    If you see this video disappear it’s because Harley removed it from the YouTube feed after reading the critics above. Ha, ha.

  21. 21 Axel Jan 2nd, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    The car companies have been letting you order your new car with different engines, interiors and other options practically since there have been car companies. Always wondered why Harley didn’t do it. Wish they would make a carb’d Evo an option…….. and an FXR frame………

  22. 22 Grey Beard Jan 2nd, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    It is a wierd ad.

    This is my theory about the ad.
    We understand the reason for the ad and what’s coming on Feb14, but….. the mainstream doesn’t. This ad’s an attention getter. When this ad goes mainstream, people won’t understand it, but it’ll make them curios and anticipate what’s coming 2-14-11 by Harley Davidson.

  23. 23 Keith Stone Jan 3rd, 2011 at 1:07 am

    On 2-4-11 they are going to offer the long awaited and highly anticipated rear chrome fender to go with the front……….. Should be awesome, just like there new commercial……..

    just kidding around folks….. 🙂

  24. 24 Free Rider Jan 3rd, 2011 at 1:37 am

    are they gunna bring some thing more than whats there in the aftermarket cataloques ?? I doubt

  25. 25 barefootjerry Jan 3rd, 2011 at 2:41 am

    this will be a “personal-shop” for HOG members ….no more .

    before starting “customize” something :
    they should learn “how-to-design” something beautyful first 🙂

  26. 26 Wiz Jan 3rd, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Were those Harley execs in the cage? They got to think outside that box! Wiz

  27. 27 Vision Jan 3rd, 2011 at 5:31 am

    OK the commercial sucks ass but personally I like the idea of upsales. Imagine if instead of having 7 different flavors of Sportster they just had: Sportster (starting at $6500). Then you could choose to buy a 1200 engine in it or LO seat or to add double front disks and a tach and some Willie G bling, each custom item would ratchet up the price and profit in the bike.

  28. 28 Mike Jan 3rd, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Harley has been out of touch with their core user group for some time. Now it appears that they are out of touch with reality.

  29. 29 NickD Jan 3rd, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Unbelievable . . .

  30. 30 Art Jan 3rd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    So sick of the “lifestyle, culture, mindset” advertising bs. Where’s the bike?? Harley will focus group the sh*t out of a new model and produce something nobody will like so they’re letting the customer build it with a limited palette and letting anyone create advertising for it.. Get back to basics. If you build cool bikes, people will buy them.

  31. 31 mcmagic Jan 3rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I would never run this ad, but I actually see a positive side to it. Even if I knew nothing about the MoCo, it would make me curious about what’s coming and I’d check it out. But then again, that’s just me.

  32. 32 SCOTT Jan 3rd, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    they’ve been drinking the kool aid too long

  33. 33 Heavy Metal Jan 3rd, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    When they say new way to customize I think they probably mean a new line of china and taiwan chrome. I don’t even know their tatget group anymore. They lost me after the Evo.

  34. 34 JonnyChrome Jan 3rd, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Someone tell HD to stop thinking outside the cage. Its confusing their customers.

  35. 35 cooldaddy51 Jan 3rd, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Lets keep an open mind about the commercial. I see ” Ride a Harley go to jail” . No? All joking aside it is a very poor commercial . Maybe the marketing company has been looking at those lame jeans commercials too much.

  36. 36 Jeff Nicklus Jan 3rd, 2011 at 6:14 pm


    Guess who is reading your blog? That is great!

    Over & Out,


  37. 37 Eric Maurer Jan 3rd, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    HD doesn’t get it! Come on….. time to hire a new marketing company and fire all the marketing staff internally as well !!! I am sorry, but this is proof that they just don’t get it.

  38. 38 Eric Maurer Jan 3rd, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    the more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. I have had it with lifestyle marketing interfering with my motorcycling addiction. I love motorcycles, but I do not need to be oversold on a lifestyle…. I am not a 70s wanna-biker, I do not drink PBR cuz its cool, I do not own a pan, knuckle or ironhead sportster, cuz its fashionable, I am not rockin a bedazzled cut, drinking Jack out of a strippers pastie (although I am open to that one!) and do not need to camp out in dirt hole with no plumbing to appreciate the chopper experience…. I love motorcycles, love Harleys and love the history and culture, but do not need some marketing machine spoon feeding me a lifestyle to be cool. It feels fake, we all know its fake, it is making me ill and not want to buy a new bike and therefore will eventaually move me towards another brand (HD are you listening ???) I AM YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC….. employed, can afford your product, buy a ton of accessories and am thinking about changing brands, or at least sticking with my old bikes (Evos included!) instead of buying new product.

    Am I ranting? Yes, Am I pissed? Yes. Does Harley Davidson care? Probably not. That is the part that is shameful…. I am not sure HD cares about the current demographic and that is a shame. I will be buying for 20+ more years…. and I have owned a shitload of bikes…. so it seems like they would want to cater to people like me, but what do I know. I am just a loyal consumer, thats all.

  39. 39 Seymour Jan 4th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Why does no one step in and steal Harley’s dominance? It’s Wide F’ing Open!

  40. 40 fuji Jan 4th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Eric Maurer

    Right on. My sentiments.

    To some this will cost you Three our Fathers and Two Hell Mary’s for giving defamation to the Harley Gods. You are close to going to hell for being a hater. LOL

    Easy on us old guys, LOL

  41. 41 JonnyChrome Jan 4th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    If your reading this there is a decent chance you own a HD. It is likely your’re a well informed enthusiast as well. Odds are you have already been bagged by HD. They’re throwing new bait in a different pond. Who knows what they will catch…..

  42. 42 pabstblurigid Jan 4th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    the river of “hate,” such ebb & flow.

  43. 43 pabstblurigid Jan 4th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    where would YOU ALL be without HDMOCO paving the way? as i have alluded to before…your illustrious S & S powertrains, Ultimas, Merch’s, TP’s…etc & so…all based on the OG.

    give them a god dam break, huh? dealing with change, vendors, a HUGE dealer network, EPA, lawyers, unions, etc. more than ANY of yous could handle!!!

    you guys with your mom & pop operations, the “custom” shops that make (3) $36,000.00 units a year, the egotistical “biker build-off crew”….what do you have to contend with? arranging bike night with the local watering hole?? whatever.

    by the way – i have a LOT of friends who run INDY shops AND help INDY’s every chance i get.

    get off the computer, check your tudes’ and just ride?

    i am so glad WE ARE SO BUSY (yes, an HD OEM) that i ONLY have time to “lurk” here once a week or so.

    hang your heads in shame…if “they” go down – SO WILL YOU.

  44. 44 barefootjerry Jan 4th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    they removed the vidéo !
    can’t believe that ….

  45. 45 fuji Jan 4th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Eric Maurer

    I tried to give you some guidance. Now you have pissed off the redneck PBR crowd.

    You should know that these people need a purpose in life just like you and I.

    If I hear that you drove any of these people over to the other side [ Indian, Victory or Custom ] I will be upset.

    The motor company deserves these people. They work very diligently to coheres this faction of the market.

    No ! You can’t call it brain washing. LOL

  46. 46 pabstbluerigid Jan 4th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    i beleive it’s “coerce” (Mr Fuji) – and i excercise freewill on many fronts.

    and i am NOT a Redneck…nor even worse…dare i say it…DEFINITELY NOT a HIPSTER. drank/been drinkin Pabst b4 it was the in thing…that and “the High LIfe.”

    Why not have fun, just ride…and let the chips fall where they may. Why, why throw gas on an open flame?

    Wish Eric lived near us, sounds like a good man….cool thoughts.

    What don’t the “all knowing righteous many” of this blog propose “what” Harley do? within reason, mind you – thus ‘bring back the FXR, a kickstart, etc….well, you know where i’m goin. IF YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY….BE SERIOUS. and OBJECTIVE.


    Hate takes you NOWHWERE.

  47. 47 PABSTBLUERIGID Jan 4th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Mr Fuji, NO disrespect…the word is “coerce.”

    Oh, and i have a purpose…to ride, help others to ride/ride bikes that are “real” rideable bikes (not these ridiculous raked/stretched billet goofy painted $35,000.00 customz, lol), provide for my family, and help thy neighbor.

    I/We are NOT rednecks nor are we that dreaded “new breed” of HIPSTERs but instead penny-pinching (and saving!) blue collar folk who never forgot where we came from and what good ol honest to goodness beer tastes like…oh, and i really prefer Miller’s High Life. (no fuity flavors or light shit here!)

    Eric Mauer brings valid points to light. Cheers. Would like to hang with him

    Must we continue (everyone else?) to throw gas on the flames of HATE.

    it’s COMMON KNOWLEDGE the HDMOCO lurks here…Why NOT offer objective suggestions? (though i believe only a few of you could, as most of the “builder crew” have such egos and harbor unmeasurable jealousy, lol).

    back to suggestions for HDMOCO, keep it realistic? the FXR, though one of the greatest bikes to ever grace the pavement – is done, forget about kickstarters, etc & so on. The HDMOCO has ALWAYS travelled to “the” major events and sought public opinion.

    Just stop the “wah wah wah whining cuz “your opinion” differs from theirs!

  48. 48 fuji Jan 4th, 2011 at 9:54 pm


    You assumed, I meant to use the word “coerce”. When in fact, I purposely used the word “coheres”, which means “To stick or hold together in a mass that resists separation”…..just like HDMOCO!!!!

    And, as far as PBR, I was replying to Eric Maurer’s comment about PBR and drinking PBR “because it’s not cool” I agree with him in all PBR posted. But…..you replied.

    I find the custom builders to be creative, intuitive and well informed. More so than Harley Davidson.

    Outside interest took bike building to new levels bringing new and improved equipment to the market place. That includes engine, transmissions and accessories.

    Do you really believe that HD would have ventured from the norm if it were not from outside pressure? So hats off to the independent builders for expanding the horizon!

    So….you don’t like Custom Bikes….no more than I like rednecks on Harley’s! an insult to the motorcycle.

  49. 49 Knucklehead Jan 5th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Sounds like most of you need a hormone infuson.

  50. 50 Wiz Jan 5th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Any of you heard of Pearl beer? Used to drink the shit out of that stuff! It’s a Texas thing! Wiz

  51. 51 Eric Maurer Jan 5th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I have never heard of Pearl Beer, but in Seattle, they seem to drink the shit outtta PBR and Rainier. Personally, I am partial to Jose Cuervo, but that is a story for another day.

  52. 52 Wiz Jan 6th, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Does Raineer beer still have them little puzzels inside the cap? They were Great! Wiz

  53. 53 Steve Hog Radio Producer Jan 6th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Hey I resent that remark. Being a native of the Pacific Northwest – we put Micro Beer and Quality coffee on the map! Rainer beer! That went out in the 70’s – great commercials but crappy tasting beer.

    As for HD Advertising/marketing, I wont comment may hurt my chances of working with them in the future.

  54. 54 Steve Hog Radio Producer Jan 6th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    One more thing – Puzzles inside the cap that was Lucky Lager beer. I collected beer bottles as a kid and turned them in for .02 cents a bottle and we always liked finding the caps and trying to work the puzzles. If Rainer beer did this, they copied Lucky Lager again another 70’s beer.

  55. 55 Wiz Jan 7th, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I wuz doin’ alotta drugs back then, livin’ in Spookaloo [Spokane],maybe it was Lucky. Wiz

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