Friday, June 17, 2016

Is this the worst motorcycle ad ever? Yes!

This JAWA motorcycle ad is the absolute worst.
In the computer era, no one can be certain that the photos in motorcycle ads are real.

It was easier to detect the phonies back in the days when photographers had to use film to fake pictures.

Sometimes, the limitations on what could be done in the darkroom gave rise to a silliness all its own.

An example is this period ad for JAWA scramblers, spotted for sale recently on CraigsList in Texas.

It's just awful.

The best they could do was to paste together mirror images of the front of the motorcycle to support a meaningless "Two-Faced?" headline.

But the ad copy is even worse.

In it, the ad explains that they are also including the mirror images of the back of the motorcycle "at the insistence of our art director. Being the left-over portions of the photo above, he felt this model offered tops in traction, a genuine straight-through exhaust and something unique in dual seating arrangements."

Of the hacked up images, the ad comments "don't ask us which of the four models it is, as they all look alike to us and even we get confused sometimes...

"Why not see your JAWA Dealer and ask him to show you the model that doesn't care if it's coming or going."

I have a better question: Why not just shop for a motorcycle that takes itself seriously — perhaps a model that anyone can tell is unique in its own right? Anything but a JAWA, apparently.

To my mind, the ad is abysmal. But there is a more important question:

Did it sell motorcycles? What do you think? Leave a comment.


  1. Bikes were ugly and the early 1960s ones looked as though they were painted with a roller. But they were tolerant of ham-fisted shade tree mechanics and would run even after being neglected and abused. They cheap, fun bikes.

  2. I had a new Jawa 350cc twin two-stroke in the '70s. It was pretty well built and compared well to what other Brits were offering in that class. I kept it for about 2 years and had no fault to find with it except it was a bit underpowered and thirsty.

  3. VW did the whole "every model year looks the same" thing. I wonder if this was a stab at that seemingly nonchalant attitude? But they missed the point entirely. Interchangeable due to quality!!!


Follow royalenfields on Twitter