New York -- The opportunity for VH1 to partner with Harley
Davidson Motor Co. was just too good to pass up, according to Marc McIntire, the
network's vice president of ad-sales marketing and national promotion.
The venerable Milwaukee-based motorcycle company was
looking for a television partner for its 95th-anniversary promotion when it called VH1.
As a result, VH1 will join PepsiCo, AT&T Corp., Miller
Beer and Chrysler Corp.'s Dodge division as full-fledged sponsors of
Harley-Davidson's 95th-anniversary bash in Milwaukee June 10 to 13.
More than 45,000 Harley owners will converge on Milwaukee
for a "Hog Rally" June 10 to 12, with as many as 100,000 more bike owners
expected to arrive by that Saturday, according to Tom Watson, manager of advertising and
promotions for Harley-Davidson.
On Saturday, June 13, Watson said, 86,000 people will
attend a "Reunion Concert and Birthday Ceremony" at Milwaukee's Summerfest
Grounds, hosted by TheTonightShow with Jay Leno host and motorcycle
aficionado Jay Leno.
VH1 will provide news coverage of the parade of bikes, the
rally and the ceremony, and it will be represented at the Summerfest Grounds with a kiosk
VH1 will also devote that weekend to Harley-themed
programming, such as the top 10 Harley videos and motorcycle-themed rock songs.
And the network is running a "Chrome on the
Range" sweepstakes, which will award four Harley motorcycles to the grand-prize
winner. Another motorcycle will be given away at a drawing at the end of the
network's annual "Rock Across America" tour, featuring local bands and
appearances by Cheap Trick.
"We really believe that there's a strong
connection between rock and Harley Davidson," McIntire said, "so we just jumped
What's more, VH1 was impressed by what McIntire called
the "perfect match" of the demographics and attitudinal characteristics of both
companies' target markets: young, upscale and urban, with a "freewheeling"
spirit and a love of rock 'n' roll.
"One of our marketing objectives was to extend the
Harley Davidson brand to younger groups," Watson said, "and VH1 does a great job
carrying events and meeting that market."
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