Harley-Davidson’s teenage (and 20-something) dream has come true

Katy Perry wrote a song about Harleys, and now the brand may rise in popularity among young people and women.

November 7, 2019

Harley-Davidson is finally reaching the younger audiences that all legacy brands strive for. The secret? 

It got lucky: Katy Perry recorded a hit song with its name in the title. Her song “Harleys in Hawaii” is rising up the charts, and Harley-Davidson is getting a much-needed kick-start.

But it wasn’t an endorsement…

According to The New York Times, Harley-Davidson did nothing to woo Perry. She wrote the song after a Hawaii trip with fiancé Orlando Bloom. The company just provided motorcycles for the pop star’s music video.  

Although artists team with brands to pitch nearly everything — yes, you, Travis Scott and Reese’s Puffs they rarely go all-in on a brand organically. In the mid-’80s, Run D.M.C. released “My Adidas” and then scored an endorsement deal with the brand.  

Many times, brands hate being mentioned in popular culture without their input. Polo freaked out at Trick Daddy in the late ’90s for constantly rapping about wearing its jeans. Jaguar worried when a character on Mad Men attempted to kill himself in one of its cars.

But Harley will let this one ride

Besides, what’s there to complain about? “Harleys in Hawaii” has been viewed and streamed more than 30m times since its release last month.

The popularity amounts to the best kind of free advertising — from an influencer. The famed macho motorcycle maker is now reaching women and younger consumers.

Harley can use the lift. Profits have slid, and it closed a major plant this year.   

But after a dose of Perry, perhaps this ol’ “Dark Horse” brand will “Roar” again… 

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