Droga5 London’s work for Royal Enfield leans into the glorious unpredictability of biking

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Droga5 London is taking viewers on an unpredictable journey with its debut work for Royal Enfield. Read on to discover the thinking behind the campaign.

Motorcycling is fast, it’s wild, and it’s unashamedly cool and rebellious. But at the same time, even the most uncompromising Hell’s Angel doesn’t actually want to take unnecessary risks with their life. And so developing a trusted brand in the world of motorcycling enthusiasts is arguably more important than almost anywhere else.

Royal Enfield has a head start in this regard. The oldest global motorcycle brand in continuous production, it boasts a long and proud heritage. Its first motorcycle, Royal Enfield Bullet, was built in 1901 by The Enfield Cycle Company of Redditch, Worcestershire, England. That said, while the firm still makes great play of its British heritage, it’s today headquartered in Chennai, India.

Creative agency Droga5 London, part of Accenture Song, won Royal Enfield’s global advertising business this summer. In this first campaign for the brand, they worked with Royal Enfield to launch a new motorcycle, the Himalayan.

In doing so, they had a tough challenge ahead of them. Namely, steering a careful path between celebrating the wild and untamed freedoms that motorcycling offers, especially far away from the restrictions of home, without giving the brand a sense of being dangerous or irresponsible in any way.

On reflection, we reckon they’ve got the balance just right.

Key elements

As the name suggests, the new bike was designed for the unpredictability of the Himalayas, and the new global identity takes inspiration from the ‘change of plan’ mindset required when traversing the infamous mountains.

A key device in the identity, the line, is built to take viewers on a visual journey as unpredictable as the one they would navigate. Meanwhile, photography, shot on location in the Himalayas by Achille Mauri, showcases the true harsh beauty of the vast landscape, capturing the gritty realities of an exhilarating road trip on the mountain.

The campaign identity flexes from OOH and social sites to a product book, merchandise and apparel, where the visual language proved its malleability and strength in telling the same unpredictable adventure story in a multitude of ways: “From A to ?”.

Intuitive and elemental

“What I love about this campaign is that it feels intuitive, is elemental, and invites the viewer to decode it,” says Matteo Alabiso, design director at Droga5. “Finding the perfect balance between clear messaging while maintaining an element of discovery was key.

“The viewer gets to experience the adventure first hand, leaving them wanting to take on a harsh journey that only the Royal Enfield Himalayan could take on.”

Shelley Smoler, chief creative officer for Droga5, outlines the origins of the narrative. “The Royal Enfield Himalayan was inspired by the Himalayas, where every twist and turn is an unpredictable adventure waiting to unfold,” he explains. “And we thought, why not let everyone catch a glimpse of that epic ride?

“Whether you’re looking at our ads, checking the website, flipping through the brochures, or sporting the merch, it’s like you’re right there on that journey in the heart of the mountains.”

He adds that the team has relished the experience and can’t wait to continue working with Royal Enfield. “It’s not every day you get to craft a campaign that packs a punch at every single touchpoint of the user’s journey, and now that we’ve caught the bug, we want to make more.”

Adarsh Saxena, global brand lead-adventure for Royal Enfield, feels the concept behind the campaign couldn’t be clearer. “Every single ride in the Himalayas is different,” he explains.” The mountains are ever-changing, and the new Royal Enfield Himalayan is a creature of this dynamic environment.

“We wanted the design to be distinctive, ownable and one that takes people on a unique ride. The campaign has tapped into our adaptive adventure mindset and supports the multi-faceted launch, focusing on balancing rugged imagery alongside structured line work. Using this, we lead our viewers on a joint journey, partnering the All-New Himalayan with their own journey of self-discovery.”

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