Power Point: Let’s ride!

March 31, 2009, 2:46 AM UTC

We love this ad:

“You can file our obituary where the sun don’t shine. It’s times like these that raise the important questions. Do you cower, or do you live free. Do you succumb to fear and doubt, or do you seize the throttle and give it a fearless twist forward. From where we sit in the saddle, we see American companies and good old American ingenuity wrenching the life back into this economy of ours. The people rolling up their sleeves and getting it done are the same ones that ride our motorcycles, and you’ll find them wearing blue collars, white collars, pink collars or no collar at all. We’re proud to count ourselves among them. Maybe you’re ready to feel the same way.”

— This Harley-Davidson ad—bolstered by the tag line “Screw it. Let’s Ride”—debuted in Sunday’s New York Times. Talk about populist fever! The ad’s text, in red and blue against a white two-page spread, form a giant American flag. Carmichael Lynch, Harley-Davidson’s longtime agency, created the ad.

So here we have another midwestern maker of great American transport machines. Harley got through its brush with bankruptcy in the ’80s. Will General Motors get through too now that Rick Wagoner is no longer behind the wheel? Today GM stock dropped 92 cents–25%–to $2.70. Who would have imagined that Harley-Davidson would ever have a stock-market value twice that of GM’s?–Jessica Shambora