The noise awareness campaign for Harley-Davidson may have been the most challenging for one simple reason - It was well known that many people bought Harley bikes for the roar and rumble of loud pipes. Well, people grew tired of it and many towns and municipalities started to pass noise ordinances that limited how loud your motorcycle could be.
Our task at Moon Landing (and H-D) was to essentially tell people to keep quiet and respect their neighbors… or risk similar ordinances catching on across the country. The approach had to be sound, and the messaging had to be carefully crafted not to offend or perturb Harley’s most loyal customers.
Even though H-D kept turning to us to create a storm uf buzz, on this campaign we were tasked with making sure there was none.
It was quickly discovered that this was a case of a small population creating a negative stereotype for all Harley riders. The reality was that the majority of riders were not making excessive noise and they were in fact respectful of their neighbors and community. Our challenge became finding a way to illustrate that the loud noises were coming from a small minority rather than negligence of the majority of Harley owners.
With facts in hand Moon Landing chose to deploy a strategy of regional influence to get the desired result, which was to curb the spread of these impending noise laws. We focused our efforts on areas of dominant influence (ADI’s) because we knew if we made traction and changed public perception there, other smaller towns and cities would follow the lead of their neighbors.
Our goal to make sure there was “no buzz” was meant to stem the tide of ADI markets running stories that would get seen in smaller markets and begin new grassroots efforts to introduce similar noise ordinances. We used real Harley riders in these “censored” communities as the face of the campaign. This made our messages more authentic as they came from inside the Harley community rather than from outsiders.
Images of weathered Harley riders with messages like “It happened in my town. Don’t let it happen in yours” and “Don’t let it come to this. Respect the freedom. Throttle down in town” were used to spread the message of togetherness in the battle against loud riders and noise ordinances.
We selected spokespeople in various markets to act as the “faces” of the campaign and provided them with media training to ensure they had a thorough understanding of the key messages and represented the Harley position accurately.
Moon Landing also worked hand in hand with Harley Owner Group (HOG) chapter directors and dealers. A month before the campaign kicked off we distributed campaign kits to dealers and directors with everything they needed to be up to speed for the campaign including key messages, answers to FAQs, posters and other campaign collateral, and more.
At HOG and dealer events, we had some fun and created “noise awareness booths” where riders could rev up a bike and see just how close they could get to the decibel level deemed to be too loud.
The noise awareness campaign identified a small population of motorcyclists making excessive noise and educated riders on how to be respectful to the community around them and stay within noise ordinances.
Our strategy to focus on ADI’s was successful in curbing the spread of unnecessary noise ordinances and demonstrating to riders what respectful and responsible riding looked, and sounded like. By using real H-D riders as the face of the movement we were able to limit the amount of pushback and create a unified effort amongst riders.
We were able to use multiple channels including HOG, individual dealerships, events, the museum, and even the Rider’s Edge program to raise awareness about the effect just a few people could inflict on all riders by not adhering to noise ordinances.