Ladybloggers Uninspired By the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Lifestyle


A group of self-described ladybloggers recently attended a soiree on Manhattan’s Central Park South to sip cocktails and feel empowered by Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Or so the company hoped.

“Do you want to be inspired? How about empowered to live life on your own terms? … Join Harley-Davidson for a cocktail party at the BlogHer Conference in New York City for the unique opportunity to gear-up, slide into the driver seat, roll the throttle and shift the gears of a real Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” the event description promised.

You can’t blame the brand for trying: more than one million women own motorcycles, and according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, one in four riders is a woman. But next time they should probably work on their outdated sales pitch. According to the New York Times, even Margaret Cho couldn’t get the crowd interested, nor could one of the company’s most prominent women:

Karen Davidson, a descendant of the manufacturer’s co-founder and the company’s creative director for general merchandise, riffed on freedom, the spirit of the road and the fabric of America, but she struggled to be heard over the bar chatter, an indication that the familiar motorcyclist tropes would not sway this crowd. It underscored the company’s inability to assess its target demographic and convey a relatable image of riding.

BlogHer conference-goers, many of whom have been running their own successful websites for years, likely weren’t moved by Davidson’s “message of defying expectations by not sitting behind a man on a bike” because they don’t need something between their legs to feel powerful.

Marketing to Women Bloggers, Harley-Davidson Experiences a Rare Backfire

Image via @margaretcho.

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