There's a reason why we criticize derivative products and bad marketing; we want more people to ride better products that they'll like more than the crap conventional wisdom currently foists on them. We're afraid that the motorcycle industry is painting itself into a corner; building products targeted at conquests from other brands rather than attracting new riders, products that aren't going to stop the gradual upward creep of average rider age by targeting younger people. Marketing that supports this trend by building on stereotypes and alienating those with intelligence is both symptomatic of and one of the causes of the industry's current malaise. The logical end product to all of this -- the inescapable corner -- is less riders, less motorcycles, less motorcycle companies, less land access, less rights, more laws and more cars.
The solution? Fresh ideas, innovative products and marketing that
manages to sell both to the people that matter: a new audience.
Fifty years ago Soichiro Honda had one of those fresh ideas. The best
selling vehicle of all time, by quite a margin, the Honda Super Cub
forever changed the face of motorcycling. Every motorcycle that you
ride now owes something to it.
In this video, which was released last September to coincide with the
50th birthday, Honda states that it "never wants to see another Super
Cub." Why? "Because we've never made a better product than Super Cub."
That's a bold, but prescient admission. In 50 years, all the combined
might of its increasingly large corporation has failed to innovate to
the same degree. But, Honda realizes that the time is rapidly
approaching when it will need that level of innovation again, stating,
"We're trying to make Super Cub disappear from the world...by making
something better. That is our aim."
We really like this statement. Not only is it realistic and ballsy, but
it also shows an appreciation for the past while realizing the need to
focus exclusively on the future.
It's also extremely well presented. This video is a victory for subtlety and the power of a strong brand message over more in your face, product-oriented ads. You walk away feeling good about Honda and hoping for a bright future that includes its products. The subliminal point that everything surrounding the Super Cub is enough to identify the machine even when it's scratched out or made invisible is a powerful one.
Honda (not to mention the rest of the industry) desperately needs to
live up to this statement by thinking big and innovating like never
It already knows how to market its products. If the above video isn't
example enough, then here's "The Impossible Dream," created by
Wieden+Kennedy London for Honda UK.
If Honda can, on a worldwide scale, combine that "something better,"
with this kind of marketing it could do the impossible, it could become
video via Solo Moto Treinta