About the Harley Davidson Slogan
Harley-Davidson slogan, “So screw it, let’s ride,” was introduced in 2008 as part of a new ad campaign. Although the response was predominately positive, the ad did receive some mixed responses from the public as well. Harley riders in general approved of the concept that they’re an optimistic, hardy bunch who can thumb their nose at an economic downturn and find relief on the open road.
The new ad campaign was devised by Minneapolis, Minn. firm Carmichael Lynch for the Milwaukee, Wis.-based motorcycle manufacturer. Harley spokesman Paul James said the company was sending a message about “the hand-wringing in the public dialogue.” The ad was run in publications such as Sports Illustrated and NASCAR Scene, and the company also purchased a full-page ad in USA Today. “We don’t do fear,” the ad states. “If 105 years have proved one thing, it’s that fear sucks and it doesn’t last long. So screw it, let’s ride.”
Some people complain that the ads show Harley-Davidson is out of touch with the problems across the United States. One Internet commenter said the “screw it” mentality got people into financial messes in the first place. Another expressed disgust that the company laid off 700 workers and then had the audacity to proclaim “Let’s ride.”
Others praised the campaign’s bold nature and its ability to capture the escapist attitude of motorcycle enthusiasts. Ad Age reported that the campaign was based on opinions given by Harley riders at events such as races and motorcycle rallies. “Doesn’t it sound like something we actually would say?” asked someone in an on-line comments section. Advertising professionals have taken note of the campaign’s success despite the ads not mentioning any specific products, features, benefits, pricing, dealer locations, or Harley-Davidson management.
Harley-Davidson has had numerous other slogans over the years. One of the earliest, from 1910, proclaimed the bike is “Always a trusted friend.” Later the company issued, “The motorcycle that is not that uncomfortable.” “Get a kick out of life” came out in 1927. More recent slogans have emphasized the unique Harley biking lifestyle: “Live to ride, ride to live;” “Turn on your own thunder;” “The road starts here. It never ends;” “The legend rolls on;” “It’s time to ride; “Until you’ve been on a Harley-Davidson, you haven’t been on a motorcycle;” and “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle saga began in a Milwaukee backyard shed in 1903. The company has dabbled with other products such as snowmobiles, in the 1970s, with the slogan “Ride a Harley all year ’round.”
The bar-and-shield logo was created in 1910 and is still the defining symbol of Harley-Davidson.