Instagram case study: Harley Davidson uses carousel cartoons to win over adventurous Australians

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Harley Davidson used Instagram ads to increase awareness and drive relevancy among young, urban riders.

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Case study summary

• Iconic motorcycle brand used Instagram ads for the first time
• Aimed to 8- to 35-year-old men in Australia and New Zealand
• Used a series of illustrations in Carousel format to attract an adventurous group of people
• Achieved 1.4 million men aged 18-35 reached in 3 weeks and 8,365 website clicks

The challenge

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American motorcycle brand that has come to symbolise freedom and individuality.

The brand wanted to raise brand awareness and engage a younger audience.

It used Instagram ads for the first time with the aim of reaching 18- to 35-year-old men in Australia and New Zealand.

The solution

Working with its agency 303 MullenLowe, Harley-Davidson launched a campaign using a series of illustrations to attract an adventurous group of people who like to see the world though a more visual lens. In line with the brand’s artistic heritage of seeing motorcycles as pieces of art, the brand engaged local Australian artists known for their imaginative and doodle-like drawings to interpret three key themes that resonated with its target audience: food, ocean and the outdoors.

Displayed in carousel ads, each theme featured a horizontal illustration that was split into five separate images. When swiped, the images connected to form a storyline. The visual style mimicked tattoo-like images and motifs that are popular in biking culture.

The results

Between June 12–30, 2016 the ads reached nearly 1.4 million men between 18–35 and drove 8,365 clicks to the brand’s website, helping Harley-Davidson achieve its objective of resonating with a younger audience.

Brad Morris, managing partner at MullenLowe said: “Our Instagram campaign resonated with a younger demographic, helping us to reach a new audience on mobile.”

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