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Harley Davidson: When Eco PR Just Doesn’t Fit

Electric Harley

Wouldn’t a plug-in version of this be considered a kids’ toy?

It is no secret that the world needs protection from its inhabitants. What with all the alerts about our ozone being ravaged by coal, smog, pollution, and all that hair spray they put in the Kardashians’ wigs, it’s a miracle we can even breathe.

That’s why “Green” or “Eco” (for ecology, just in case) PR is a big thing now. Appliances use less electricity; even light bulbs have gone the way of the HDTV. And yet, impressive as Tesla’s electric cars may sometimes be, they’re still up against oil lobbyists and those Koch guys.

And now, entering into the fray: Harley-Davidson!

Wait, what?!

Most companies, upon announcing attempts to save the environment, get a few #PRWin brownie points. However, that hasn’t been the case for this dynamic, iconic motorcycle company.

The picture above was the hog maker’s declaration for America with the LiveWire. *crickets*

Sure, the AP covered it, which is why we know about it, but you’ll be challenged to name a biker who’s impressed by this campaign outside of Hollywood and the guys riding up and down the PCH with their scarfs flailing in the wind. The article discusses the less than overwhelming fanfare:

The venture is a risk for Harley because there’s currently almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles.

President Matt Levatich said he expects the company known for its big touring bikes and iconic brand to become a leader in developing technology and standards for electric vehicles. Somewhere, someone in PR at Harley Davidson thinks current fans of the big hogs will just have to turn the key and make the grueling, loud sounds themselves while revving the electric engine.

I hope it works for the sake of the environment, but for the PR? Not so much.

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