Few folks are likely to associate Harleys with content marketing. But in 2018, motorcycle conglomerate Harley-Davidson took home the gold in the Personalized Engagement category of the CMA (Canadian Marketing Association) Awards for its “Common Ground” campaign.
Also up for a Shorty Award in 2019, Harley-Davidson’s “Common Ground” campaign was a hit with consumers and critics alike. The campaign, rooted in a 12-part documentary series, began with the company looking to increase its ridership and brand recognition here in the north.
Harley enthusiasts from all around the world were invited to join riders from Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta to explore different parts of the Canadian landscape. Paired motorcyclists started off as strangers and together formed unique bonds as they travelled over the “common ground” they found connecting them: their love of riding.
The campaign was a part of Harley Davidson’s celebration of of 100 years in business, and featured highly successful associative content showcased on retro-style posters along with long form posts on the Instagram Story platform. The motorcycle-themed posters became so sought-after, they were often torn down almost immediately after they were put up on display.
The video series was popular too: it was picked up by the Discovery Channel, who put together the documentaries into a one-hour primetime special by the same name. When Common Ground aired, it was seen by almost a half-million Canadians.
The popularity of the program in terms of viewership was truly unexpected and this winning campaign surpassed many of the marketers’ goals on a number of different levels. Less than six months after launch, numbers from the campaign revealed:
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