Care-free, open roads, raw power… we all have our reasons for purchasing a motorcycle but getting these tropes across into advertsements can seem, well, generic – or at least it would be if firms still felt there to be enough value in advertising on the television.
Unfortunately the art of selling motorcycles with a TV spot seems to be a thing of the past – seriously, when was the last time you saw a motorcycle advert between halves of Corrie? – but that hasn’t always been the case though and thankfully time has brought us some corkers that lurch from heartwarming to skirting the rules of what is permissable to proving that motorcycling is at the very least damn cool.
So here are 10 Motorcycle Adverts to put a smile on your face…
BORN TO BE HARLEY – Harley-Davidson
A picture perfect Stepford house in suburbia, young parents with new baby, an impossibly tidy garage – this image set up is the stuff of schmaltzy US party political broadcasts or insurance adverts, so it’s perhaps no surprise a true icon of ‘Americana’ adopted this for its ‘Born to Be Harley’ ad.
Harley-Davidson tapped into this with a smart alternative use of its famously rumbling soundtrack, which is certainly brave. Not because they forewent the iconic vision of wide-open roads to frame the bike, but because of the carbon monoxide build up it’d create.
Also, you could only ever get away with this in countries where fuel is cheaper than water…
REAL BIKES FOR REAL MEN – Aprilia
Handsome man, smart house, tiny coffee mug, what begins as a Gillette advert ends up as a Saturday Night Live sketch. Remember it’s not the size that counts… though there is a limit.
LEAVE HOME – Royal Enfield
It isn’t always easy to break away from the usual motorbike advertisement tropes (like the Triumph spot below) but Royal Enfield deserves credit for thinking way outside the box with its ‘Leave Home’ ad, which elicits a rollercoaster of emotions from us that veer from amusement to just feeling weird. So weird.
WHATEVER IT TAKES – Suzuki
WARNING: If you are watching this in a quiet place with the volume up, at work or near someone with a nervous disposition, turn this down or find some headphones because it gets a bit ‘screamy’…
Maybe skip this if you are a (tiny) dog person. This wouldn’t get green lit today…
VOICES – Triumph
You won’t get a chuckle from this but you’ll probably relate to Triumph’s ‘Voices’ commercial, which just skirts around the creepiness of hearing multiple softly-spoken voices (geddit?) by offering some visual pleasure in the form the Triumph Bonneville.
Those who have enjoyed their weekends in a certain way might want to skip this one but since getting away from it all is often the cornerstone of motorcycle purchases but this is a very zeitgeist modern-day take on it.
IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO MAKE FRIENDS – Kawasaki
Enjoy this because there is no way Kawasaki could get away with doing this advert again, such are the stricter rules preventing them from showing big top speeds as your primary selling point.
Regardless, Kawasaki were kings at bringing humour into promoting its Ninja, but this has to be our favourite because it’s just so darn cheeky!
KAWASAKI IS BACK (COMPILATION) – Kawasaki
As we say above, Kawasaki nailed a series of similar in theme but each individually eye-catching ads that raised a smirk amongst us so we’ve included the entire compilation. Interestingly, you only ever actually see the Ninja in one of the ads – alongside a Porsche letting itself down – so we’re not sure if we’re hankering for a Kawasaki or a lime green tractor now.
VALENTINO ROSSI – Honda
Valentino Rossi could be in a loo roll ad and it’d be cool (note to self: devise a Rossi-Andrex puppy ad pitch] so it is no surprise Honda capitalised on the power of his brand and image to shift a few more cars back in the early 2000s.
While it doesn’t exactly sell the Honda Civic Type-R he’s driving – not least because he is doing it very slowly -, the ad amused us nonetheless.
THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD – Coco Chanel
With a production budget exceeding the GDP of some countries in less than 3mins, this sumptuous ad for Coco Chanel marries the timeless beauty of a Ducati Supersport 750 with Oscar nominated actress Keira Knightley, who dashes through the streets of (an unrealistically Instagram filter-tinged traffic-less) Paris and launches off a staircase (on what is clearly and amusingly clearly different bike), all set to the smoky tones of Joss Stone growling out ‘This Is A Man’s World’.
It’s a gloriously classy advert and the Ducati gets a decent amount of airtime (20s to 57s if you only have a spare 37secs) to makes us lust after it more than the fragrance… and ‘maybe’ Keira.
ALL THE FEELS (our title, not theirs…)
You may or may not have seen this advert on Visordown already (it’s consistently one of our most read articles) but if you haven’t then be warned – it strikes all the feels!
The premise is a little slow to get going but once it does it’ll warm your heart, even if you will no clue what it’s actually advertising until right at the end.
It’s long but if you aren’t smiling at the end, we don’t know what will…