Saturday, September 6, 2008

Royal Enfield ads sparkle -- in India

Americans find Royal Enfield motorcycles evocative of the great British makes. The English recognize them as artifacts of the not-so-distant past. But, in India, Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles are a national treasure, at least as significant as Harley-Davidson is in the United States.

India has produced many times more Royal Enfields than Britain ever did. Most of these have remained in India, to be recycled and customized. Children have their pictures taken early in life astride an Enfield and later go on to own a machine that is similar, only better.

Because the Enfield is important there, and because India is the home of many creative minds, Royal Enfield advertising there is far more prevalent and dynamic than in the West. A collection of Royal Enfield calendar images recently went up for auction in India. One calendar month, which might be titled "riders in the sky," is shown here. Others emphasize the distinctly Enfield characteristics: the casquette; the tank badges; the Himalaya adventures.

To own an Enfield in the United States is to be always an oddball, explaining that, yes, it does look great but compression is low, rpm are few, and there is only one cylinder -- it's slow. In India, no explanation is necessary. To own an Enfield is to have achieved the heights. I'm jealous.


  1. Anonymous9/06/2008

    Now that u mentioned Enfields and creativity lemme point u to these:

    Perhaps, you have already blogged about them before.

  2. Anonymous9/06/2008

    Anonymous, thank you for the tip. I have not blogged about these ads but I did find them interesting. Whatever shortcomings they may have, they are vastly more self-confident than what we see in the United States. In India, Royal Enfield takes itself seriously. Outside India, the company seems to tread lightly, as if to say "don't mind me, I just want a little niche somehere." The trumpet needs to blow louder. Charge!


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