Shopper Innovation Awards: Harley-Davidson floats a showroom

The motorcycle brand tapped into an opportunity to get its demo together in one place, and displayed bikes on a barge to get their attention.

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of strategy.

Bronze: Small Budget, Big Impact

Motorcycle sales were down, and Harley-Davidson needed to kick off its summer 2014 season with a bang. So the brand worked with Jan Kelley Marketing to create an event and retail promotion that would help salvage sales.

The challenge was to get Harley-Davidson’s demographic together in one place.

The annual Port Dover “Friday the 13th” bike rally was the perfect opportunity. The event saw 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts gather in one location. Because it is a small fishing town with a population of 6,300, the problem was that there was no remaining real estate available for a Harley-Davidson event.

Inspired by the fishing and shipping industry of Port Dover, the agency created a 65-foot barge and docked it along the shoreline of Lake Erie during the rally. The floating Harley-Davidson showroom welcomed more than 8,000 passengers over the course of the day, and extended the existing retail location. New and unique bikes were put on display, and in attendance were graffiti artists, a DJ and Harley-Davidson enthusiasts (as well as Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes) Jan Hudec and Kevin Rempel.

The $30,000 event garnered over 100,000 impressions through media coverage. Retailers from across Canada were able to connect with their key customers and the sales of Cruiser bikes in Ontario increased by 44%.


Brand: Harley-Davidson
Senior manager, advertising & promotions: Taso Mascalidis
Marketing director: Brad Jandrew
Agency: Jan Kelley Marketing
ECD: Lynn Ridley
CD: Evan Long
ACD/AD: Geoff Redwood
ACD/CW: Stew Farago
Brand experience director: Shannon Ballard
Account director/photographer: Tim Srigley
Videographer: Mike Bzowski