Beyond Innocence – column

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There classics purchasing (copy)

A while ago there was surprise at the motorcycle advertisement in which such a highly current, high-performance two-wheeler was presented as “The ideal platform for your smartphone”. A little later I had a 'communication process' with a former copywriter/translator who had worked for one of the Big Brands at the time when writing was still a livelihood that required passion and craftsmanship.

It was about a two-page advertisement – ​​a full spread – in any case in a Dutch motorcycle magazine. The wonderfully informative text was something like 'Release your ultimate darkness'. I've seriously wondered how and why I would want to do something like that. Whether I might get in trouble with the police...

My seasoned conversation partner aptly described this approach: “If you really have nothing to say, do it loudly and in English.”

And then a message came from Harry de Boer from Jistrum, municipality of Tietjerksteradeel. The village had 2023 inhabitants in 940. Including at least one motorcycle enthusiast.

Harry reported that he still had a few brochures from the time when the Sieberg company from Aalsmeer imported Urals and Dneprs. Think late eighties, early nineties. The company did this cheerfully and without distinction. Urals from Irbit and Dneprs from Kyiv were presented as if they were from the same litter. And thanks to this off-the-cuff approach, the RDW now still has sidecar combinations 'Ural, type Dnepr'. That must have been more than thirty years ago. After Sieberg stopped, Jan and Paula Koedoot took over the stocks to make GOSSIE. That company is now in a coma and over the past 20+ years it has been Richard Busweiler who has – successfully – focused on the trade in workhorses from the former Soviet Union.

But then we go back to the brochures that Harry sent. We read and spelled them out letter by letter, with tears of joyful emotion in our eyes. They were made at a time when the first generation of marketers and salespeople were still grown in petri dishes in shadowy laboratories.

There were no highly paid advertising companies nor sales and marketing departments. There was an enthusiastic importer plus a language-talented motorcycle enthusiast. A human expert too. A great psychologist. The focus was on nostalgia, quality and price. To greed and jealousy. Top!

We quote:

“Do you know why Dnepr will make it all the way in the 90s? NO??? Well, that's simple, if the other person still pays off (!) on his old motorcycle, you will now have money for a new one a long time ago.”

“AND DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT OCCURS? URAL DNEPR is the Russian that gives value for money, has not only improved in many areas, but has also remained affordable. Because where can you find a motorcycle with a heavy boxer engine made entirely of aluminum and a capacity of 649 cc for only 7500 guilders???”

The brochure that Harry sent shows how difficult it is to create texts, check them and determine the numbers of brochures. Because the 6 of the 6500 guilders has been changed into a 7 in the amount with a black-writing fineliner. The first printed price has therefore been increased by 1000 bucks. In sales and marketing you have to be flexible. They knew that at Sieberg very early on.

The motorcycle has a beautiful nostalgic appearance due to the beautiful lines of the unapproachable sidecar assembly. The sidecar box is also fabulously painted and has a stylish trim to finish it off.

More smoking and splashing language follows. There are relevant technical errors in the brochures.

But the final text is even strongest:

“Ural, the true reform. Ural, the Russian that gives value for money, has not only improved in many areas, but has also remained affordable. You wouldn't believe your own eyes that something like this is still possible these days!”

Many manufacturers have tried to fill this so-called gap in the market. They were already just jumping into a hole.

With Ural we are talking about an honest motorcycle that dares to express its advantages, but also disadvantages. However, as far as those disadvantages are concerned, Sieberg has done away with them. The boxer engines have been greatly improved.

Do you now understand why URAL DNEPR is going to make it big? Great, then we don't have to elaborate on that any further.”

In short: Bad advertising has always existed. But with Sieberg it was genuinely bad, but passionate. Endearing. Norton commercials should probably no longer be allowed. In contrast, many current advertisements are evidence of people's inability to learn. They are full of emptiness and forced emotions.

And advertisements with young ladies stylishly draped over motorcycles? No advertiser can get away with that anymore. While the 'Norton Girls' were once legendary.


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Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
That's on the edge now...
Beyond innocence: advertising!!!
You can no longer advertise like this
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  1. Such a beautiful comment: “If you really have nothing to say, do it loudly and in English.” Delicious. We can be quite critical of what they want to sell us. Recently had a conversation about “overproportionation of technology in cars and motorcycles”. In any case, I am not looking forward to more electronics with all kinds of functions that I wonder who wants. Just give me a car or motorcycle that is well built and can be worked on by yourself. Wonderful, right? Maybe I should start on a Ural too.

  2. This is a good read again! And yes, that photo. How do you get to the beach with that motorcycle? Also someone on the back. And side stand in the sand? Driving away is therefore not possible. But I don't think those two in this picture want that either. Are they still there?

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