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LEAVING A THUMBPRINT ON THE WORLD

years ago because the Japanese were selling a better product at a cheaper price. The company regained its market share by marketing meaning. By promoting the personality of the brand, moreover, the firm was able to expand from building motorcycles to selling a line of clothing and accessories linked not by function, but by archetype. Harley-Davidson cycles are not inexpensive, so their owners are often professional people who want to express their wild side. Harleys also are associated with the Hell’s Angels and other Outlaw groups. The personality is complicated. For example, it is associated with patriotism, but not as a Hero would see it. One study found that riders thought that riding a Harley-Davidson was “a stronger expression of patriotism than is obeying the law.” This form of patriotism is the old nationalistic kind for Harley-Davidson riders, sometimes associated with Japan bashing. The macho image was aided by the bikers in Marlon Brando’s The Wild Ones in the 1950s and has grown since, although the “ladies of Harley” make up 10 percent of riders. As one might expect, not only do many customers sport tattoos, but “the most popular tattoo in the United States is the Harley-Davidson symbol.” Riders see Harleys as more than a motorcycle—more like a whole set of attitudes, a lifestyle that is not just about freedom (as the Explorer might be), but freedom from mainstream values and conventions. A typical ad shows a remote cabin with the tag line, “If you didn’t have to answer to anyone, what would you do?” Harley riders often sport black leather, heavy boots, chrome, conspicuous weaponry, long hair, boots, and body piercing—as well as tattoos. Harley gatherings have the character of Outlaw bands coming together, in contrast to the wholesomeness of RegularGuy/Gal Saturn reunions.1 The Harley Web page challenges riders to answer one question: Suppose time takes a picture—one picture that represents your entire life here on earth. You have to ask yourself how you’d rather be remembered. As a pasty, web-wired computer wiz, strapped to an office chair? Or, as a leather-clad adventurer who lived life to the fullest 1. David A. Aaker, Building Strong Brands (New York: The Free Press, 1996), pp. 138–141.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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