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Friday, June 12, 2015

Royal Enfield ad sought to restore the spirits

Royal Enfield ad tugged at the heartstrings.
Advertising copywriters like to tug at our heartstrings, and vintage Royal Enfield ads certainly did.

Among the examples in the Vintage Motorcycle Art Archive on Flickr is one in particular.

"Recapture Pre-War Rapture on a Royal Enfield Motorcycle," it urges. The illustration is of a man leaning on a Royal Enfield as he and a female companion enjoy watching gliders soar through the air.

The gliders themselves signify a peaceful use of airplanes. The fact that the bombing is over tells us this is a post-war advertisement — but only just. The advertising copy refers to "the intensive work demanded by to-day's production programme."

Hardships persist as England tries to work itself out of wartime debt by manufacturing and exporting such goods as motorcycles.

But "Royal Enfield riders can journey to scenes of natural beauty, or sporting accomplishment, which will help to recapture that carefree atmosphere of pre-war days."

The ad notes that "The Royal Enfield motorcycle illustrated is the 125cc Model RE. A two-stroke which weighs only 130 pounds and provides a petrol consumption of over 100 mpg."

So, no need to fear for the budget, not with Royal Enfield.

A lame ad by modern standards? Not much sex appeal, is there? Rapture? Hardly any.

What strikes me is the sense of loss and injury the ad acknowledges and seeks to exploit. The world war would have made these feelings almost universal. Somehow, riding a motorcycle is supposed to repair the damage done and fill the empty places in the spirit.

A two-stroke popcorn popper like the Model RE would seem hard pressed to redress these injuries. Thankfully, that is what motorcycles have always done best.

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