Harley Davidson


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My Senior Seminar Research Project: Coding Gender in Harley Davidson's Advertisements

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Harley Davidson

  1. 1. David Pacheco David Pacheco
  2. 2. Harley Davidson’s Basic Info: <ul><li>Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin </li></ul><ul><li>Founded: 1903 </li></ul><ul><li>Founders: William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, William A. Davidson </li></ul><ul><li>Sells Heavyweight (over 750 cc) Motorcycles </li></ul><ul><li>Harley Davidson’s logo accounts for 5% of their revenue. </li></ul><ul><li>Harley Davidson sustains a loyal brand community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teams, leagues, clubs, events, and a museum. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction to Research <ul><li>Area Studied : Advertising Campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Research Question : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“How does Harley Davidson code gender in their advertising campaigns in the last 20 years?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Significance : To critically analyze and challenge Harley Davidson’s advertisements and deconstruct their campaigns to see if there is any difference in the portrayal of gender. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background to Research <ul><li>Critical Theory: Cultural Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Earlier Related Studies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Portrayal and Comparison of both Genders in Advertisements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Leslie McArthur, “The Portrayal of Men and Women in American TV Commercials” Journal of Social Psychology. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dana Kivel, “Consuming Media, Making Men: Using Collective Memory Work to Understand Leisure and the Construction of Masculinity.” Journal of Leisure Research. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portrayal of Women in Advertisements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Natalie MacKay, “The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Towards Men.” Sex Roles Journal. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Joey Senat, “Editor & Publisher Slow to Change Depiction of Women” Newspaper Research Journal. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Methods to Research <ul><li>Method: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Textual Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Framework: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Glasgow's 3 Levels of Deconstruction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Levels of Ad Deconstruction: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literal Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical Level </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Sample Text Information <ul><li>Time Frame: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1990-2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Availability: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Harley Davidson’s Website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Text Significance Area: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender/Power </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Figure 1 “ May wind be the only product in your hair. Plant your tail in the saddle of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and you’ve got an unflinching view. Here a man can undust his Adam’s apple. And in an age hell-bent on going soft, that bodes well for the backbone. www.harleydavidson.com”
  8. 8. Figure 1 Deconstruction <ul><li>Literal Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Black and white picture (vintage) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Close up shot of a man’s nose and beard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age: 40-50 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Beard is untrimmed, windblown </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text “May wind be the only product in you hair” appears in the top left corner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text “Plant your tail in the saddle of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and you’ve got an unflinching view. Here a man can undust his Adam’s apple. And in an age hell-bent on going soft, that bodes well for the backbone. www.harleydavidson.com” appears bottom left corner. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Figure 1 Deconstruction <ul><li>Cultural Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Black and white suggests vintage, old, rustic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A bearded man suggests toughness, ruggedness. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The untrimmed beard is a natural look. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age is a suggestion of experience, knowledge, and power. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Figure 1 Deconstruction <ul><li>Critical Level: </li></ul><ul><li>Ad is suppose to promote the natural qualities of riding, it is mislead through the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Text Analysis: “Here a man can undust his Adams apple”, implies that the brand is clearly a mans brand and the older man has power. </li></ul><ul><li>The catch phrase implies that wind is the only hair product needed for a man when on a Harley. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phrase mocks women, implying that hair products are not a part of this brand. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Age and the body type in the ad also favors the male gender and gives men power when owning a Harley Davidson. </li></ul><ul><li>Also there is no “natural” quality of riding ever truly stated it is only implied through hair products. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Figure 2
  12. 13. Figure 2 Deconstruction <ul><li>Literal Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vintage color to picture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Man on his Harley </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age: 45-60 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Beard is untrimmed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wearing a leather vest, pants, and bandana. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spiked bracelet, black sunglasses, and numerous rings are also being worn. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>House in background is rundown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Graffiti on side of the house </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’d never let my wife ride it. At least not until she’s 18.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Figure 2 Deconstruction <ul><li>Cultural Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Off color of picture suggests old, rustic, worn. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A bearded man suggests toughness, ruggedness. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>His attire and stance also suggests this. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>His age is a suggestion of experience and power. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The background depicts a lower class neighborhood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Suggests a tough area to live. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text suggests the power of a husband in an underage relationship. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Figure 2 Deconstruction <ul><li>Critical Level: </li></ul><ul><li>The text makes a statement about underage relationships and putting it in context with the older man and his Harley Davidson. </li></ul><ul><li>The ad is misleading stating that male toughness and power comes from a run down life (house), traditional biker attire, and having a dominant role in a relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>Ad is also misleading the beliefs of women and relationships in regards to their husbands who own a Harley, putting forth that the wife is oppressed in the relationship and has no say. </li></ul>
  15. 17. Figure 3
  16. 18. Figure 3 Deconstruction <ul><li>Literal Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Black/dark theme to advertisement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supermodel Marisa Miller straddling a Harley </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wearing high leather boots, cut off shorts, long dirty blonde hair draped over back and shoulders. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stance and smile very seductive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lighting of Marisa makes her stand out in advertisement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motorcycle blends into background. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text: “American Supermodel V-ROD Muscle” </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. Figure 3 Deconstruction <ul><li>Cultural Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Darkness of picture makes it very sleek and mysterious. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harley uses the supermodel as sex appeal to sell the new bike. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By using the bright supermodel and the dark background the bike look modern, new, sleek, sexy, mysterious, and sought after. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text suggests an “American Supermodel” supports an “American Brand”. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. Figure 3 Deconstruction <ul><li>Critical Level: </li></ul><ul><li>The advertisement is suppose to show off a new, sleek, and sexy Harley Davidson V-ROD Muscle. </li></ul><ul><li>It is misleading because it uses a supermodels sex appeal as a more prominent figure in the ad than the actual bike itself. </li></ul><ul><li>The bike is supposedly the showcased item but the supermodel is the only “well” lit part of the picture. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The motorcycle is not even fully visible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By doing this, the ad oppresses women to be seen as sex objects used to help promote the sale of a product. </li></ul><ul><li>The ad unintentionally gives power to men because of how the supermodel is </li></ul>
  19. 21. Conclusion <ul><li>Results for Coding Gender in Ads: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Males: Powerful, strong, rugged, rigid, and tough when owning a Harley Davidson. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Females: Oppressed and portrayed as sex objects. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limitations of Research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Harley Davidson is a 106 year old company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ads only focused on last 20 years. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Future Research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To take a broader look at different ad campaigns and see if the trends are consistent. </li></ul></ul>