Harley-Davidson shortlists three agencies for pan-European task

Classic motorbike manufacturer Harley-Davidson has drawn up a shortlist of three UK agencies to pitch for its pan-European business.

The company is looking for a single agency, with European offices, to handle a press campaign with a single creative theme for 1998.

In the UK, advertising has mostly appeared in specialist motorcycle magazines and has been developed in house.

The company’s image took a battering in 1995 after a London dealer ran a campaign through Butterfield Day Devito Hockney featuring executions which included the Harley- Davidson rider who encouraged his wife into prostitution to pay for his bike. Such ads caused an outcry over “yobbish” advertising.

Roy Pinto, Harley-Davidson’s UK marketing manager, says: “The ads did not have the right brand message we wanted to portray.”

Pinto, who is part of a European team leading the agency search, says pitching will take place next week.

He adds: “This will be a very focused campaign because we obviously don’t have a brand awareness problem. We want to target other motorcyclists or potential motorcyclists.”

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