Harley Davidson


The cool kids weren't riding Harleys anymore. We used smart insights to reintroduce them to a legend.

After years as the iconic symbol of the rebel youth, Harley-Davidson found itself out-of-touch with the touch-screen generation. Research by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal showed that around 40 percent of motorcycle owners are 51 to 69 years old, and Harley’s core target customer base was white men over 35 years old.

Harley needed to increase its reach to young adults (aged 18 to 34), women, African-Americans and Hispanics. The good news: our target was part of the largest generation in history; they were more interested in motorcycles than their Gen X predecessors; they shared Harley’s core values of individuality, freedom, and a penchant for counter-culture.

Mirrorball’s objective was to reposition Harley’s brand into the modern millennial-dominated market while maintaining its deep-rooted brand loyalty that the Baby Boomer generation had. We took this goal and created a strategic grassroots campaign called “Boot Camp.”

Bootcampers learned the rules
of the road and got a kickstart on
test driving a Harley

This scalable program reached out to potential first-time riders through nightclub promoters, local club organizers, event planners, digital media properties, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These influencers were invited to a local Harley-Davidson dealership for a crash course in badassery, supplemented with free food and drink.

Instructors provided lessons in choosing and fitting gear, righting tipped bikes, basic riding techniques, and even how to identify the different models and styles of Harleys. Boot Camp also connected young riders to Dark Custom. This new selection of motorcycles encouraged owners to design their own machine and then advertise them to their social worlds. The Dark Custom line runs under the motto “United by Independents” and amplifies with the hashtag, #StereotypicalHarley.