Harley-Davidson Uses NCAA March Madness Partnership To Launch Younger, More Diverse Global Campaign

Harley 1Harley 2

Harley-Davidson uses its NCAA March Madness basketball partnership to kick-starts a new international marketing initiative called ‘Live Your Legend’.


Sponsoring the country’s premier college basketball tournament is an attempt to reach a younger and diverse market and the first spots in the campaign launch at the beginning of the competition and continue to carry through the Elite Eight tournament phase.


In an attempt to reverse the stereotype of the aging, solo white male rider recapturing the freedom of youth, the iconic motorbike maker has developed the new campaign to engage with a more diverse and younger market and to debut a set of new products such as its Street motorcycles, the Iron 833, the Forty-Eight and new Street Glide Special.


The multimedia initiative – spearheaded by in-game TV commercials and also embraces social media (with the #LiveYourLegend hashtag) and print – will focus on family and friendship stories and will depict riders developing deeper bike bonds and sharing richer Harley experiences.


For example, one of the launch spots features a rider bonding with his son who rides his tricycle to ape his dad riding his (new) Harley-Davidson Low Rider S.




‘What I’ll say is they (the commercials) will represent different stories about how others are living their legends,’ explains vice president of global marketing and brand for Harley-Davidson Shelley Paxton.




The NCAA tournament partnership is essentially a media play: more of an audience connection tactic than one that aligns the brand specifically with basketball as a property.


The March Madness focus will be backed by an experiential presence in harness with Spin magazine at the South by Southwest festival




and also supported through Harley-Davidson’s ongoing partnership with the X Games



(which dates back several years and spans several sponsor campaigns – like this 2014 work)


and with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.


Indeed, it was only in February 2016 that Harley-Davidson signed a multiyear extension with the UFC that spans dealership-led viewing parties, plus a joint program benefiting the US armed forces.


Harley’s UFV partnership stretches back to 2007 and it has activated various partnership campaigns sincce then – including this 2013 Xmas UFC leverage campaign.



The latest deal is the bike brand’s third partnership signing with the mixed martial arts property.


‘They were really one of the first premier top Fortune 500 companies to come on board and then we had Bud Light right after that,’ says Brette Sadler, UFC vice president of global marketing partnerships.


‘They were really a key driver to take us to the next level.’


Every UFC partnership deal is customised (based on what the sponsor wants to do) and in Harley’s case the brand is showcased across multiple UFC platforms (including social, digital and programming), while Harley sponsors the arrival of fighters on pay-per-view and other broadcasts and the bike brand presents a UFC fight held on a US military base (UFC Fight for the Troops).


The partnership is based on the parallels between the two brand’s fan bases and values: two all-American brands with passionate, genuine, real customer fans.


Plus several high profile UFC fighters ride Harleys: including Cain Velasquez, Donald Cerrone, Ricardo Lamas, Matt Hughes, Michael Chiesa, Johny Hendricks and T.J. Dillashaw.


600 Harley-Davidson US dealerships can show the UFC’s pay-per-view events to motorcycle customers at discounted prices – in a local event deal that also includes a set of custom assets (posters, banners, mailers, invitations, postcards).


This wider sponsorship and advertising marketing push is also being backed by a 65% overall rise in Harley’s annual marketing spend in 2016.




Harley-Davidson YouTube:



Harley-Davidson Instagram:



Harley-Davidson Twitter:



Harley-Davidson Facebook:



Harley-Davidson Google+:



Harley-Davidson Webiste:



NCAA March Madness:



NCAA Twitter:



NCAA YouTube:



NCAA Facebook:



NCAA Facebook:



NCAA Websites




Comments are closed.

Covid-19 > A Sports Marketer’s Guide

C-19 > A Sports Marketer's Guide

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)20 8144 5345

Mob: +44 (0)7818 416 572


Posted by j.edwards No Comments