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In the fiercely competitive landscape of brand marketing, some companies rise to greatness while others stumble and fall. Why do some prosper and others fail? What were the secrets behind the successes and failures of three iconic brands: Indian, Harley Davidson, and Budweiser.

Indian and Harley Davidson, two legendary motorcycle manufacturers, have left an indelible mark on the industry with their rich heritage, passionate fan base, and powerful marketing campaigns. Their ability to evoke emotions, foster community, and cultivate brand loyalty has been the envy of many competitors.

In contrast, Budweiser, a well-known beer brand, recently experienced a significant marketing flop that left consumers perplexed and questioning its direction. And boy oh boy, did it flop. 

What is it that makes two brands succeed and one fall in the pool with a belly flop that it is still breathless from the oh shit moment ... and how is it that Budweiser expected anything different? 

To be honest, it was a failure from the get go. But why?  


Comparing the marketing strategies of Indian and Harley Davidson with Budweiser's recent marketing flop highlights some key differences in approach and execution. 

  1. Brand Positioning and Target Audience: Both Indian and Harley Davidson have carefully positioned themselves in the motorcycle industry, targeting true believers. Indian has sought to emphasize its over 100 year heritage and cater to motorcycle enthusiasts who appreciate classic design and craftsmanship. Harley Davidson, with its rebellious and free-spirited image, has successfully attracted riders seeking an iconic American experience. Spanning over a century, it has weathered storms and come out as a market leader. 


Budweiser, also over a century old ( in fact founded in 1876 )  is a bit older than Indian and Harley Davidson. On the other hand, facing a marketing flop with its recent campaigns. The brand attempted to reposition itself by targeting younger consumers and promoting a more contemporary image. However, these efforts failed to tick the box with its core audience and led to a disconnect with its traditional beer-drinking blokey bloke consumer. Budweiser's attempt to appeal to a new audience without considering the potential impact on its loyal customer base resulted in significant stuff up.

It was simple really. Budweiser forgot that it had a loyal, largely male, and largely patriotic core of followers. Who the hell would walk into a bar, after leaving the Harley or the Indian and buy a Bud Light? 

No one, it just ain't gonna happen. No one would step off even a Vespa or a Yammie or a vintage Triumph or BSA and stroll in and order a Bud Light. In fact, NO ONE is going to buy a Bud Light in public.



  1. Consistency and Authenticity: Both Indian and Harley Davidson have maintained a consistent brand image and message over the years. Indian has focused on showcasing its commitment to quality and craftsmanship, while Harley Davidson has consistently embraced its grass roots and the freedom of the open road. This consistency has contributed to the real vibe of their brands and helped build trust among their customers.

In contrast, Budweiser's recent marketing campaigns lacked the heart and soul that consumers expected from a well-established brand that they have loved for so long. The attempts to reposition and rebrand were perceived by some as forced and disconnected from Budweiser's traditional identity. This inconsistency left consumers confused and undermined the brand's credibility. In short, they fooked it up. (Apologies to Paddy. )

  1. Emotional Connection and Storytelling: Indian and Harley Davidson have successfully tapped into our hearts, our lives, and have fostered a deep sense of connection and loyalty.  By associating their brands with emotions, they have created a strong bond with their target audience. Even when they openly compete. 


Budweiser's recent marketing flop lacked the emotional loyalty that Indian and Harley Davidson have been able to achieve. The campaigns failed to make us believe in their message. And why should we? It was their message, not ours.  Why companies rely on superficial trends and gimmicks is beyond me. 

Adaptability and Market Understanding: Both Indian and Harley Davidson recognized the importance of understanding their target markets and have made efforts to change their messaging accordingly. This shows they are still thriving in today's tough world. 

Budweiser's recent marketing flop can be attributed, in part, to a total lack of listening to its consumers. As a result, the brand failed to capture the attention and loyalty of its target market.

Remember when they did it right? 



While Indian and Harley Davidson have succeeded in building strong brands and connecting with their customers on an emotional level, Budweiser's recent marketing flop highlights the challenges that can arise when a brand fails to listen and understand its target audience. Us. 

Conservative Political parties are making the same mistakes as Budweiser, in my opinion. 

Forgetting their core group of loyal and committed supporters in favor of an audience that was never made up of motorcycle enthusiasts, beer drinkers, or lovers of the free and open road. 

Indian, as a brand, forgot its base during the Second World War when it dedicated all of its energies to the war effort, while Harley Davidson ensured it kept the local market fed and alive. 

Never neglect your base when you explore new markets or you will do so at your peril. 



Isn't this exactly what is happening around the world?  

In other words, 

Go Woke, Go Broke. 



Some future articles are coming up on the history of the Indian and Harley Davidson. 


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