Monday, February 14, 2005

Raleigh's Response

Hi Gin,

Thanks for your message. I appreciate the feedback on the Raleigh catalog and am truly sorry that you found it disturbing. I'd like to briefly explain, however, the intent behind our current ad campaign and give you a little background information on the theme that we used.

Raleigh is a 117 year old brand that has enjoyed great success over the years. As you may have noticed, the graphic treatment of the 2005 Raleigh road bikes is reminiscent of the classic Raleigh bikes of the late 1960's and early 1970's. In the 2005 catalog we were seeking to tap into the heritage of the Raleigh brand in that era. As was the nature of many ad campaigns of the time period (automotive, consumer goods, etc.), there were several advertisements that showed attractive young women posing with Raleigh bicycles. Some of the pictures in the 2005 catalog are actually reenactments of these original ads, accurate right down to the poses struck by the models. This visual approach was designed to reflect upon what was a successful and significant period in the history of our company and the sport in general.

A number of our dealers, both male and female, were highly enthusiastic about the campaign in a pilot study prior to the catalog production. It was largely through dealer input that the decision was made to produce the entire catalog in this format, as opposed to just having one or two of the nostalgic shots.

What we have found was that while the ads do resonate with a great number of people who are familiar with the brand, it is certainly not universal in its appeal. People interpret what they see based on their own personal framework and value structure. What worked in the 1970's does not work in 2005 in many cases. Interesting as well is the fact that older folks (both men and women) seem to be less troubled by the ads than do their 20 and 30 something counterparts. Perhaps this is because the younger demographic was not around at the time to bear witness to the era that is portrayed. Kind of like watching someone else's home movies, something gets lost if you don't have the frame of reference. Perhaps we missed the target and could have been more sensitive to this fact but hindsight, as they say, is 20-20.

I assure you that at no point did anyone here say anything about trying to sell more bikes by showing them with hot chicks. We actually had some fun in the process of making the catalog, but should have realized that some people would not appreciate the theme. I can honestly say that we've had far more positive than negative feedback regarding the catalog; probably 80% versus 20% give or take. We were simply trying to tap into the nostalgic flair of a much simpler time.

Thanks again for writing and most importantly, keep on riding. After all, in today's troubled world it really helps to keep it light and have some fun. What better way than on your bike?

Sincerely,

Norm Krisher
Marketing Services Coordinator
Raleigh America Incorporated
6004 South 190th St. Suite 101
Kent, WA 98032
253-395-1100
425-251-8140 (fax)
nkrisher@raleighamerica.com

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