h-d marketing escapes from solitary

harley tries new dance steps, picks 3 to replace carmichael lynch

iconic brand splits ad work three ways

News out this morning from Ad Age has Harley’s media planning/buying to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom (first globally in media buying – new adds include Darden Group, Best Buy) while doing a 180 and casting their creative future with newcomer Victors & Spoils following Carmichael Lynch’s ship jumping last August after 30 years of mostly hidebound (“screw it – lets ride”, jeans over boots) treatment. At the same time, Publicis shop Digitas is greenlighted for digital, a too long neglected portal.

soylent green – yummmm!

Tea leaves? Plenty. V&S, an ’09 startup that’s latched on to crowdsourcing (love it or hate it) for creative enlightenment, counts Crispin & Porter alum Evan Fry as CCO. And C&P was the last stop on the elevator ride to the basement for HD’s disbanded brand Buell last year. What is known is that V&S, using the crowdsource model of financial (spec work) deniability, was able to pitch TMC before being approached – a strategy that for now seems to have worked plenty good enough.

V&S claims to be, “…the world’s first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles.” And crowdsourcing, by definition, is antithetical to long term brand cohesiveness. The recent GAP flap had cs dna all over the crime scene as that company chummed the water for alts.

Creative will no doubt be a break from the past – for that, give thanks. But enough to return HD to the ranks of best known brands? Doubtful, as far as the traditional product is concerned, considering it’s mostly a cultural thing closely tied to XY bragging rights and a lifestyle perception that’s left the dock for more comfortable and/or techno fulfillment.

What will bear watching – and a pretty sure bet that the RFP included a subcontinent strategy – will be how all this plays overseas. As in Asia.