Harley-Davidson to Beam Festival Via Banners

NEW YORK Harley-Davidson is bringing live footage from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally directly to consumer through banner ads.

The bike manufacturer is buyng ad space on sites like MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Univision and Military.com to Webcast footage live from the weeklong festival in South Dakota. Harley-Davidson’s agency, Interpublic Group’s Carmichael Lynch, will air the live footage via the display units from about 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 4-10.

The campaign is the latest attempt by advertisers to use display ad space in more creative ways to gain user attention. In February, New Line Cinema ran a campaign that showed nearly live video from a Washington, D.C. bar in banner spots to promote the thriller The Number 23. New Line production firm Foglight Entertainment uploaded the videos after a 10-minute edit. Both pushes used technology developed by ad tech provider DoubleClick.

Carmichael Lynch, which has eight people on the ground to film and produce the event coverage, will show the scenes that give the flavor of the festival that draws over 400,000 bikers to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

“The people who buy Harley’s have a mindset to go their own way and are very independent and like to do fun things and have adventures,” said Jim Nelson, ecd at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis. “It makes sense because it’s real and authentic.”

The spots will auto-play the video feed from the event, giving users the option to click to Harley’s microsite for Sturgis, where the brand has interviews, blogs and other content.

As for the possibility the cameras will catch a “Janet Jackson moment,” Nelson said, “You just have to be careful where you point the camera.”