Friday, September 30, 2022

Royal Enfield Hunter 350 combines retro style with appeal to youth

Man and woman loading 35mm film camera.
Royal Enfield in a nutshell: Young woman with a film camera.  

 Royal Enfield introduced its new Hunter 350 last month with a launch video shot on London streets, and meant to simultaneously showcase the heritage and youthful appeal of the new model. 

How'd they do that? 

The Hunter 350 is a simplified version of Royal Enfield's Meteor 350 and Classic 350, the brand's new single-cylinder offerings that are themselves simple, approachable, retro-style motorcycles. 

The Hunter 350 could end up being Royal Enfield's least costly model in the range, so young people are obvious targets. Royal Enfield Americas confirms that the Hunter 350 IS coming to the U.S.

But that retro thing. Where's the youthful appeal in that? 

Royal Enfield Hunter 350.
Royal Enfield's new Hunter 350, a retro appeal to young riders.

In an interview with Little Black Book online, FAMILIA director Adriaan Louw describes how he tried to capture that ingredient by showing authentic moments, in a documentary style. He saw retro appeal as an advantage, not a problem. 

"I loved the challenge of getting a new generation of riders into motorcycling," he is quoted as saying in the interview.

"Using Royal Enfield's heritage in the UK struck me as a smart way to do this, and with brick lanes, deep history with Indian culture, it felt like a perfect marriage."

The result was a cast that behaves like friends getting together for a ride, rather than racers assembling for a grudge match. There is a little tire spinning, but no stunts. Theme music composed by Richard Hawley, is upbeat, not pulsating.

"A lot of marketing aimed at this generation is cool and edgy but can often come across as uninviting. So with this spot I wanted to convey that the community welcomes people with open arms," Louw said.

As for retro style, the spot opens with a young woman photographer loading a 35mm film camera. (The back-story documentary shows her seeing how to do this.)

Here's the launch video:

The commercial was shot on 16mm film and in only two days, without closing London streets. When the sun moved, the production took advantage of it. Certainly a very retro procedure.

Energy with authenticity, the article claims. Will it sell motorcycles? Ask somebody young, not me. But I enjoyed it.

And here is the backstory documentary:

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