1903 is cool AF: this Harley Davidson Café is about to win every marketing award

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by Tieja MacLaughlin

1903 is the year Harley-Davidson was founded.

It’s also the name of Toronto’s coolest new pop-up coffee shop, located at 96 Ossington Ave.

Open until September, this refurbished warehouse space, and fully immersive Harley experience, just set the bar for 2016 marketing campaigns – a creative collaboration by Zulu Alpha Kilo (café concept, design and social media strategy), Weber-Shandwick (PR), Jan Kelley Marketing (media), and The Mint Agency (fabrication), in conjunction with Harley-Davidson and Fahrenheit Coffee.

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As I entered I was greeted by the owner of Fahrenheit who treated me to a gift bag stocked with fresh coffee beans, a set of coasters, and some info about how to book the space for after-hours events (by the way, it's totally free as long as you meet a few bylaw requirements).

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The coffee shop, located at the front of house, satisfies all of your caffeine needs, and offers a selection of pastries. I ordered a latte and croissant, and was thrilled to discover my coffee was on the house. What’s more, after letting my drink sit for 20 minutes or so while taking photos, I was offered a fresh brew. Props for memorable customer service.

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The open space offers the ideal balance of functionality, inclusiveness, and moto-atmosphere. There is plenty of seating and strong wifi to cater to the working crowd, while the roar of an engine being fired up from the workshop out back filters through the building to create that cool buzz Harley does so well.

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A few Jax Teller-type men are available to give you a look at some of this year’s sleek new rides, tailored to suit a city-based clientele. You can also saddle up on a stationary Sportster, fully running the bike and switching gears – a truly memorable experience that will keep the Harley brand top-of-mind for both new and experienced riders.

Harley doesn’t just sell bikes. Harley sells freedom.

Don’t be surprised to see this campaign pull in big-time recognition for 2016.

Job well done.

Tieja MacLaughlin