10/20/10

Harley Davidson M-50 - The fake Mac of motorcycles.

Yesterday we looked at the Honda 90, the VW Bug of motorcycles. Today we have an ad for a thing that looks like a competitive product, but is actually kind of a lie.

Hey tough guy! Think your beloved Harley has always been the penis-extending conveyance of smelly dirtbags? Nuh-uh! The Harley M-50. Blam! There goes your world view. So sorry!

Once Japanese bikes started selling so well among normal people, Harley Davidson decided to get in on the "friendly motorbike" act. And because Harley is all about flag waving and patriotism and stuff, it seemed only natural that they simply contract the construction of their new model to the Italian firm Aermecchi, right?

The M-50 was not a bad bike, although I wish that it was. It was neither a failure or a huge victory for HD, who just didn't know how to market a bike to regular people. Honda's 90 wasn't a threat to Harley's market or anything, but HD just couldn't ignore the popularity of the little Japanese bikes.

The blog 50ccs tells the story pretty well...Link to 50ccs

So, Harley's M-50 wasn't especially terrible or exciting, but it was kind of dishonest. HD's image is that of integrity and All-American hairy-chested honesty, but the M-50 was just a me-too product aimed at grabbing some of the market share enjoyed by Honda.

When times are good, companies will go on all day about integrity and loyalty to the customer, but when they do something skeevy and dishonest, they retreat to the old argument of "gotta remain competitive". This is code for simple greed, and what's more American than that?

Apart from Ken and Barbie there, this ad features a really cool looking apartment building in the background. I've always like the idea of putting a building up on pillars and parking cars underneath it. It makes efficient use of space and keeps snow, sun,  and frogs (in the event of an apocalypse) off the cars.

2 comments:

Sue said...

I've never seen that bike on 'Sons of Anarchy'. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Ooh. Eero Saarinen's Milwaukee War Memorial building

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