All three images are taken from the view-point of the rider on a random street, possibly at a stop light in some suburban setting. As you’ve noticed, there are two glaring omissions these print ads. The product is never shown, nor is there a single line of copy to sell the product. In the US, omitting either would be considered highly risqué, and the lack of both could be suicidal for an agency. But it utterly works for Harley in this case, and that’s because the image says it all. Along with the little logo discreetly placed in the lower corner.
Baby boomer nostalgia is perfectly grasped here, subtly using period sets and naturally lit photography reminiscent of classic reportáge. The crying baby, the leery old lady and the mad barking shepard below all allude to the image of the archetypal outlaw biker the Harley brand mystique is so entrenched in. All three ads convey the fear of the onlooker in the presence of the biker on a Harley-Davidson. However the expressions of the baby and the old lady go beyond the call of duty and are actually funny.
Quite frankly, in the motorcycle industry, this is advertising and lifestyle marketing at its finest. You know, Harley, Ogilvy & Mather happens to be based here in New York City.
Maybe you could give them a ring sometime?