The best motorcycle ads aren’t for motorcycles

The motorcycle industry in both the United States and Europe has barely recovered from the recession of 2008, but there is still one place in the developed world where motorcycles are as popular as ever: In the ad industry.

You may not know this about me, but I’m a reformed copywriter and creative director. I spent decades at ad agencies in Canada and the states before switching to motorcycle journalism. My Facebook friends, and Twitter, still feed me creative commercials — one of which recently reminded me that I’ve seen lots of great ads with motorcycles, but no great ads for motorcycles.

Any Belgian catching this spot on TV would know that the monks of Leffe Abbey began brewing beer in the Middle Ages. For centuries, the monks traditionally welcomed any and all pilgrims, providing accommodation and sustenance, including beer. (That goes without saying in Belgium.)

Ad agencies inject motorcycles into ads for everything from cars to cosmetics because bikes are a visual shorthand for badassness (if that’s a word). Creative directors, copywriters, and art directors, tasked with making their clients’ products seem cooler than they really are, know that just showing them in association with a motorcycle makes them sexier.

In the United States, the Super Bowl is not just the biggest football game and most-watched television event, it is also basically the Super Bowl of advertising: The most expensive commercial time, filled with the most-watched commercials. For years, I wasted my breath bemoaning the fact that no motorcycle company had the confidence or commitment to advertising in the big game. But motorcycles have made plenty of cameo appearances.

Last year, when Squarespace bought time in the Super Bowl, it could have highlighted any of the millions of small businesses with Squarespace websites. It chose Keanu Reeves’ Arch Motorcycles company.

That ad held its own in Super Bowl LII, but I’m not sure that Squarespace really did motorcycling any favors with Mr. Reeves’ bike-surfing.

The highest production-value spot I can think of, for motorcycles, was Keira Knightly’s epic commercial — almost a short film — for Ducati back in 2011.

What’s that you say? It’s not a motorcycle ad? It’s an ad for perfume? Whatever. The motorcycle industry is desperate to attract more female riders. With 10 million views on YouTube and counting, Chanel’s probably done more for the cause than the MIC ever will.

Around the same time that Chanel made me re-write my Last Will and Testament (I amended it to read, “When I die, please tan my hide and use it to make Kiera Knightley’s next set of leathers”) T-Mobile also launched a series of commercials that might as well have been motorcycle ads.

Again, it was Ducati that got the love, as Toronto model Carly Foulkes appeared in several commercials riding 1198. The first spots just used the Ducati as a general allegory for speed and technology, but later on, they used motorcycles to illustrate the relative speed of T-Mobile’s 4G network versus its rivals.

 

Blog Source: Revzilla | The best motorcycle ads aren’t for motorcycles

 

 

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