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Harley-Davidson India ropes in The Republic to handle its advertising duties

16-September-2009
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Harley-Davidson India ropes in The Republic to handle its advertising duties

Harley-Davidson is an iconic brand and it is only natural that there is lot of excitement and anticipation to know about the company’s marketing and advertising plans in India. Following the announcement of Harley-Davidson Motor Company India Pvt Ltd’s plan to launch its motorcycles on Indian roads in June 2010, there has been a buzz in the advertising circles on the company looking for a creative partner. It is now learnt that Harley-Davidson has roped in The Republic, a Mumbai-based agency, to handle its advertising and communication duties.

Talking about the new business, Maia Katrak, CEO and ECD, The Republic, said, “Cricket is Harley-Davidson’s world wide consultant on international brand and communication strategy, and they help the company in launching in a new country. Their role also involves shopping for a best-in-class small agency, which specialises in new media and non-traditional ways of advertising. We were one of the several agencies interviewed by Cricket and Anoop Prakash, MD, Harley-Davidson India. Anoop was essentially looking for an agency that avoids conventional thinking and has a track record of well thought through, integrated solutions. But it was as much about chemistry as it was about the work. We spoke often and realised that we spoke the same language. We had one final meeting in Delhi, which clinched it.”

She continued, “The Republic is part of an integrated communications team for Harley-Davidson in India. We have a very clear strategy and a clear master plan, and each specialist plays their role. What is unusual about this process is that there is a great sharing of ideas between us all and with the client. It is an incredibly dynamic process, with much cross fertilisation of ideas, and the work that results is very exciting.”

The Republic was started along with late Kersy Katrak, one of the stalwarts of Indian advertising and father of Maia Katrak, almost seven years back. Other than advertising, the agency has a strong focus on design. As Maia Katrak puts it, their differentiating factor was that the agency was intentionally small and gave extremely personal service with the help of fairly competent senior creative people.

She added, “Our team comprises multi disciplinary people, who are not necessarily from advertising, but have a creative bent of mind. In that sense, we are not a typical advertising agency. Besides, our core competency lies in tapping unconventional ways of advertising, including social media marketing, digital or BTL. But we do a fair bit of above the line advertising too.”

For Harley-Davidson, till its launch in June 2010, the communication will focus on keeping the momentum going with virals, building community, website and various other ways of experiential marketing. Katrak said, “In terms of which media we will be using and whether we will use mass media, I think at this stage all one would want to say is that our focus is on approaching Indian riders in ways that reflect their needs. But whatever we do will be pure India and pure Harley-Davidson.”

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson in India has also appointed Edelman as their public relations and media consultancy and Seventy EMG to manage events and experiential activities.

An official communiqué from Harley-Davidson Motor Company India, stated, “These three agencies are already working together, having worked with us to manage the initial launch activity, including the creation of the Harley-Davidson India website (www.harley-davidson.in) and the recent Founders’ Ride in New Delhi on August 30, 2009. We have no plans to make further appointments at this time.”

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