• Profiting Off Violence

    by  • October 11, 2013 • Advertiser Accountability, Violence, Worst Cable Show of the Week • 9 Comments

    If you were to check Harley-Davidson’s investors from the past three months, you would find a rather noticeable increase in stock since the season 6 premiere of Sons of Anarchy in September.

    I know what you’re thinking: a motorcycle company advertising on a show that’s about a motorcycle gang makes sense.  But when according to their website, HarleyDavidson.com, a part of their corporate mission is “personal responsibility and stewardship for quality in everything we do,” it’s got to make you wonder, where do their morals lie.

    Since its season 6 premiere, a Harley-Davidson commercial has appeared on every episode.  With each episode containing the follow explicit content:

    • Violence that included multiple individuals being shot point blank in the head, cut up dismembered bodies, and multiple stabbings
    • Simulated rape scenes
    • Injections of heroin
    • Racial slurs towards minorities

    Does Harley-Davidson really want to associate its all-American brand with this?

    Instead of taking a more responsible route to advertising, Harley-Davison has chosen to join forces with Sons of Anarchy.  Not only are their customized bikes represented on the show, but they are selling toy sized Sons of Anarchy bikes on their website.  They’re not only aware of the content they’re sponsoring through support of their advertising dollars, but are promoting the show with a full line of toys like this.

    hd4kids

    On Harley-Davidson’s website this toy is under the category “Gifts for Kids,” for only $14.95.

    But I can’t help but wonder just how long this affiliation with Sons of Anarchy will work in their favor?

    For many years GoDaddy, a web hosting company, was associated with not-so-subtle sexualized commercial ads.  Well when marketers and consumers started to debate whether these commercials were going too far, GoDaddy, decided to change up its image. GoDaddy is now more focused on helping small-business owners, stating “there is another way to advertise that doesn’t have to push customers away,” where a company can still be “edgy, still fun, still entertaining, still irreverent,” but “talking in a more grown-up way.”  Well if GoDaddy can change for the better, I’m sure the prestigious company of Harley Davidson can, and should, do the same.

    Here’s hoping, sooner than later, Harley-Davidson will follow the footsteps of GoDaddy, and realize, when you have a reputable product, gimmicks become redundant.  We know from research conducted by major retailers that an 18% improvement is shown in performance of an ad when in the context of positive versus negative programs.  The research found that advertisers can find an increase in revenue by simply placing their commercial in more family-friendly programming.

    Sit on that idea Harley-Davidson.

     

    To contact Harley-Davidson about this issue, click here.

    _________________________________

     

    Quality Mission. Harley-Davidson.com. Retrieved October 10, 2013 from http://www.Harley-Davidson.com

    “Sons of Anarchy ‘Opie’ Mini Bike Toy.” Photo.  n.d. Motor Harley-Davidson Cycles 10 Oct. 2013 <shopsandiegoharley.com.>

    Elliott, Stuart. “Go Daddy Steps Away From the Jiggle” NYTimes.com September 4 2013. Web October 10

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    About

    LaQuita Marshall is the PTC’s Advertiser Accountability Coordinator.

    9 Responses to Profiting Off Violence

    1. Brian Stambaugh
      October 25, 2013 at 6:11 am

      Since its season 6 premiere, a Harley-Davidson commercial has appeared on every episode. With each episode containing the follow explicit content:
      •Violence that included multiple individuals being shot point blank in the head, cut up dismembered bodies, and multiple stabbings
      •Simulated rape scenes
      •Injections of heroin
      •Racial slurs towards minorities

      Does Harley-Davidson really want to associate its all-American brand with this?

    2. Nancy Whitaker
      October 25, 2013 at 6:28 am

      We have supported Harley Davidson, for a long time. Even had people we know working for you. Not anymore. Not if you are going to promote this kind of garbage. How could you sell toys on this show? Really??

    3. Steve Kokol
      October 25, 2013 at 6:34 am

      Stop selling Sons of Anarchy

    4. Brooke
      October 25, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Their website states they they don’t accept email. They only list a snail mail address. ??? What sort of business, let alone a major corporation, doesn’t correspond via email? Heck, even my 93-year old grandma emails.

    5. Patsy
      October 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Making money from licensed toys to kids is not the end all-be all. Sons of Anarchy is not something that Harley needs to be associated with in promoting toys to kids. The show is gross and not suitable for anyone, let alone kids. Please rethink your selling this toy to children under this show.

    6. Michelle E Simon
      October 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Be responsible…

    7. Gene Best
      October 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

      A disgrace. I would never buy from HD anything.

    8. Mr Lou J Apa
      October 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

      SUBJECT: Harley-Davidson to Stop Selling Sons of Anarchy to Kids!
      Dear Sirs;
      I want to askl Harley-Davidson to Stop Selling Sons of Anarchy to Kids!
      STOP sellng VIOLANCE to our kids!

      lja/JMJ

    9. October 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Surprising because in the past, Harley Davidson has been a responsible corporate citizen. In 1993, they backed out of a cross-promotional deal with Lorillard Tobacco Company because their own commissioned study found that the campaign would appeal to children. (See the 2012 Surgeon Generals’ report, “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults”)

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