April 3, 2020

Indian Hits Back At H-D With New “Choose Wisely” Ad

Indian’s timing in debuting a new advertising campaign might not be propitious – what with the COVID-19 pandemic getting most everyone’s attention – but the company is out today with a new TV ad urging shoppers to “Choose Wisely” when buying a new motorcycle.

Not surprisingly, the 30-second spot takes swipes at rival Harley-Davidson in what can be viewed as round two of a recently initiated promotional fight.

“Bloomberg Businessweek” calls Indian’s effort “one of its most ambitious (and expensive) ad campaigns to date, splashing ‘mid-seven figures’ across a wide range of media.”

In the ad, one rider states, “I see myself as a leader, not a follower.”

Another says, “Making the default choice is never an option.”

A third rider says, “It’s easy to join the crowd, but it takes confidence to go your own way.”

A fourth concludes, “Motorcycles are meant to escape conformity, not embrace it.”

Screenshot from Indian ad

The bottom line message in the ad is that Indian owners are unique individuals, not brainless lemmings like Harley-Davidson owners.

The ad is the latest jab in a back-and-forth fight that began more than a month ago when Indian launched the “Challenger Challenge,” which is offering riders the opportunity to ride the brand’s new Challenger model back to back with a Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special.

Harley-Davidson quickly threw a counter-punch with a series of guerilla ads that asked, “Honestly now, did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Polaris?” The Polaris mention refers to Indian’s parent company.

Round one ended in what appeared to be a draw. Indian has now opened round two. Here’s the ad:

“Bloomberg Business” explains Indian’s new head-to-head approach thusly: “Harley’s outsized lore, its brand swagger, it appropriation as a cultural identity by roughnecks and retired dentists alike, can be a liability as much as an asset.”

The publication also notes that Indian is stocking “at least one $21,7000 Harley at most all of its 200 North American dealerships for the moto-curious to compare and contrast.” The company believes, just as Pepsi did when it started the “Pepsi Challenge” against Coca-Cola decades ago, that its products will be preferred.

The only downside to the new “Choose Wisely” campaign is the timing. While Harley-Davidson’s sales have been sliding, COVID-19 pandemic is bound to put the skids on overall motorcycle sales.

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Since 2010, RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland has been reporting about motorcycling in New England and portions of New York.

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