49. Screw it, we’re out of here

5 Dec

After 31 years, Harley Davidson and Carmichael Lync decide to go their separate ways. Both sides are treating it like a break-up that has been a long time coming and just needed to happen. They had a good run, but now it is time for them to see other people.

Carmichael Lynch president, Doug Spong, had this to say: “You can’t be in a relationship for 31 years and not have some differences. We’re very grateful for such a long and glorious time together, but we just feel like we’ve taken that brand as far as we can go.” Some people are saying it was the agencies decision to dump HD, but it seems like a mutual split. Mark-Hans Richer, Harley’s chief marketing officer since 2007, stated “We’ve had a good run with Carmichael Lynch over the past 31 years but as our brand has grown globally and with new, broader audiences and cultural opportunities, we’ve been working for some time with a more diverse group of agency partners.”

The last campaign Carmichael Lynch did for Harley Davidson was “Screw it, let’s ride.” This seems to be an appropriate farewell slogan, for when it all comes down to it, Harley is about the ride, not the politics. Since the split, Harley has chosen three agencies to handle its $11 million advertising budget.

The company is giving U.S. planning and buying duties to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, has tapped Starcom sibling Digitas for digital work and has chosen Victors & Spoils to help with creative ideas, even though Harley insisted it would not name a new creative agency when it split from Carmichael Lynch. The small, Boulder-based creative firm, Victors & Spoils announced in their blog in September that they will be working with Harley Davidson.

Over the year, Carmichael Lynch has created some groundbreaking pieces that encompass the feeling of the Harley Davidson brand. They have managed to recreate the feeling of the wind in your hair and the freedom of the open road in every ad they produced. Especially evident in their last campaign, Carmichael Lynch has captured the essence of Harley Davidson’s carefree attitude and “screw you world, we do what we want” persona. It is going to be interesting to see if newcomer Victors & Spoils has what it takes to carry on and improve upon this legacy.

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