Do Whiskey and Motorcycles Mix?
Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers, industry consultant and ambassador of fun. [email protected]
Is a Whiskey and Motorcycle Collaboration a Good Idea?
For the third year in a row, two iconic American brands are collaborating to release a new iteration of their limited edition motorcycle. The brands? Indian Motorcycles and Jack Daniel’s.
Just like the brands themselves, which both made waves by being the first in their industries to hit the U.S. market, the new Indian Scout Bobber is making a splash among riders and non-riders alike. But motorcycle aside, the partnership raises an interesting question: Should a motorcycle company really be partnering with a whiskey brand?
The lowdown on the bike itself
The brand mashup makes for a rad ride, with its matte black design with 24-karat gold accents and the Jack Daniel’s fire brigade theme throughout. With just 177 Bobbers slated for release this year, the much-anticipated bikes were all pre-ordered within 10 minutes of the sale start—despite their $16,999 U.S. price tag.
Despite the hype that’s surrounded the limited edition, the collaboration raises key questions, specifically among non-bikers who are concerned that the alcohol and motorcycle collaboration could spell trouble. Among that crowd, the words “Jack Daniel’s” and “motorcycle” in the same sentence begs the question: Is it appropriate for a motorcycle brand to partner with an alcohol distillery?
The motorcycle-whiskey collaboration controversy
Here are a few things to consider before you run to protest this alcohol-motorcycle collaboration.
- Both brands drive home their stance against drunk driving
Drunk driving is a major problem in the United States. According to the CDC, alcohol-related accidents kill 28 people per day and cost more than $44 billion in damages. The U.S. Department of National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) found that 30% of motorcyclists who were killed in a crash had illegal blood alcohol levels. The number of motorcyclist drunk driving accidents and fatalities are increasing.
But neither Indian nor Jack Daniel’s is giving the green light to taking a few shots and hopping on their bobber. In fact, they coined the mantra, “Drive Responsibly: Bottles & Throttles Don’t Mix,” which is featured prominently on the bike. At every turn, and throughout the unveiling event, their PR campaign drives home the message that motorcycles and whiskey are best enjoyed separately.
- The collaboration doesn’t give a license for irresponsible behavior
The emphasis on ethical branding has been on the rise over the past few years. Most controversy surrounding alcohol marketing is aimed at keeping alcohol out of the hands of kids and teens. This motorcycle isn’t geared toward that group.
At its roots, Jack Daniel’s is known for its gentlemanly persona and moderate stance on issues. Take, for instance, one of their slogans: “We support all parties: socialize liberally, drink conservatively.” Infused with values of maturity and refinement, the Jack Daniel’s-Indian Motorcycle collaboration might just be conveying the opposite of what the opposition fears, and infusing an interesting take on the rebel nature of the motorcycle culture.
At first glance, the Jack Daniel’s Limited Edition Indian Scout Bobber might seem like an unusual partnership. But at the end of the day, Indian and Jack Daniel’s are heritage brands with more than a century of history, and craftsmanship, behind them.
Does a gentlemanly take on motorcycles minimize the culture we’ve come to know? Do you think there should be more of an outcry over the branding of the Scout Bobber, or is the public making too much out of nothing?