The Old Flame That Indiana Jones and Don Draper Have in Common

Photo: Nick Ferrari

Indiana Jones considered his a lucky charm. Ricky Ricardo pulled his out at the club. And Don Draper’s is key to the guy he really is. What is this incredible tool that all the leading men kept secreted away in their…

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Zippo Lights Up Live Music Scene With Bandsintown

Waving a lighter in the air has been a live music must since the inception of the rock ‘n’ roll power ballad. But these days, it’s become far less acceptable to smoke—especially in public spaces such as concert venues—and lighters have been largely supplanted by cellphones in terms of pants pocket real estate.

Rock audiences may now be a sea of blue screens rather than tiny flames, but Zippo is looking to preserve the long-standing association of its product and the music scene through a campaign that not only links bands to its brand, but also turns those ever-present phones into virtual lighters.

Through a partnership with concert discovery application Bandsintown, Zippo is hoping to connect with the 30 million music fans the app reaches every month, and the 160,000 artists who use it to promote their shows on social media.

“Zippo has been a major supporter of the live music experience for decades, so it made sense for us to partner with Bandsintown to engage with millennial consumers,” said Brent Tyler, global brand manager for Zippo.

The demo is a great target audience for many brands, but “it’s not very easy for a brand to reach concertgoers,” said Julien Mitelberg, CEO of Bandsintown, who is positioning his company to be a bridge between the two. “We’ve been connecting bands with their fan base; the next step was to connect brand with band.”

In addition to the virtual lighter app for iOS and Android—which also links users to concert tour dates for favorite artists—the partnership will allow a handful of artists to create limited-edition Zippo lighters for sale through Bandsintown Specials, the social app’s merch site. “We’ve been looking at merchandising for some time,” Mitelberg said. “We realized that the number of things you can buy [at concerts] is quite limited.”

Though it’s still a new campaign, there are some early signs of success. For Battlecross, a metal band among the first to create a branded Zippo, the design was created with input from its nearly 40,000 Facebook fans. “The fan response was the most responded-to post in the band’s history,” said Battlecross manager Velda Garcia Fayz, “giving an opportunity for brands like Zippo to be part of that engagement.”

Zippo, Mitelberg said, was a natural first choice, but other brand partnerships will follow “in the coming months.” Though he did not disclose terms of the deal, Mitelberg noted that Bandsintown’s new brand focus is giving the app a brand-new revenue stream.

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Vote for the Best and Worst Brand Extensions

Quick—do you know what Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, Ralph Lauren for the Pet and Mr. Clean Car Wash all have in common? Answer: Each is an example of a brand extension—a new product that a brand famous in one category rolls out in another category. A time-honored tactic of the branding world, extensions are a great way both to enhance a brand’s image and boost the bottom line.

Or not. For every great brand extension out there, history offers many more examples (Colgate frozen entrees, Harley-Davidson perfume) that prompt the question: What were they thinking?

Well, according to brand-extension agency Parham Santana, here’s what they should be thinking. A successful brand extension is a logical fit with the parent brand and uses that name to competitive advantage. It also broadens the consumer’s perception of what the parent brand can represent and—of course—it produces sales.

Keep all that in mind, because it’s time to give us your input. In partnership with Parham Santana, Adweek is inaugurating a poll to determine the best and the worst brand extensions of the past year. Check out the lists below and pick your top three from each.

Voting ends on Jan. 22. Results will appear in the Feb. 4 issue as well as online and in Adweek’s iPad edition.

Happy voting.

The Best Brand Extensions (Pick Three)
The Worst Brand Extensions (Pick Three)

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Burning for You

Even if you’ve never smoked a cigarette, you know that…sound. It happens when the stainless steel lid pops open under the pressure of the cam spring—a crisp, metal-on-metal “click” that precedes the snap of the flint wheel. …

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Road Warriors

Last year, the marketing people at Le Creuset were looking for a new way to generate buzz. The French cookware brand didn’t have a huge media budget, but it did have an 87-year heritage—and that gave them an idea. “Our factory in Fr…

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Zippo rules like Satan in garbage wasteland

BrnZipPrntGrbgeEarth72 copy

Can print ads depicting a sooty, charred, burned-out wasteland sell lighters? In this campaign from Brunner, Zippo says yes! See the full version of this ad here, and another one here. Like the shop’s past work for the brand, the new effort is eye-catching and memorable, but perhaps not in a good way. If Hieronymus Bosch (Google him, people) had been hired to come up with a fire-safety or anti-smoking campaign, these grimy, arid, almost apocalyptic visuals (note the devil’s head on this Zippo) might have been the result. “Disposable. Just another word for garbage,” it says at the bottom. The overall effect calls to mind (and nostril) the noxious stench of smoldering trash at the city dump. Ignited by Zippos, perhaps? No matter how you spin it, that stinks.

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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Zippo’s banners too hot for neighboring ads


These Zippo banners by Brunner are hot. Ha-ha-ha! I don’t get it. Anyway, Brunner created fake banners to place above Zippo lighters, and had the actors in them react to the heat of the flame below. See the ads in action here, here and here. A woman in one starts stripping—because sex sells, baby! Sorry, I just watched Mad Men, and I can’t stop talking like that. Still, it fits, because Zippo would’ve been big in the early ’60s. Did JFK light his cigars with one? Let’s just say he did. The guys in two other Zippo banners keep their clothes on—because it’s a man’s world, baby! Sorry, I’ve been doing that all day. My officemates are so sick of it. Who cares—I’m on fire, baby! No, really, they just set my shoes on fire. Thanks for ruining my day, Zippo.

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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Every Zippo tells a (potentially true) story

Who says smoking is bad for your health? Let’s see, there’s the Surgeon General, the American Legacy Foundation and cigarette companies themselves, in those warnings on the sides of packs. But don’t believe it! Just ask “Zippo Owner” of Garland, Texas, whose tale is featured as part of the lighter company’s 75th anniversary print and online ad campaign, called Zippo Stories. He writes: “We were deployed along the Vietnam/Cambodian border. … During the ensuing firefight, I thought I had been shot when I felt a powerful hit on the left side of my chest.” Guess what? He survived because “my Zippo had been in my left shirt pocket and had taken a direct hit from an AK-47 round!” There’s no way to check the veracity of that story, but I’m sure a company that makes cigarette lighters would never dream of making it up. Zippo’s inviting consumers to submit stories of their own. Here’s mine: I was trying to hail a cab when some guy lit up with a Zippo and blew smoke in my face, and as I was coughing, he climbed into my cab and drove away. True story? You never know!

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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Dark days for lighters

ZippoDavid Ogilvy loved Zippo lighters, partly because of their lifetime guarantee. But what good is that if you can’t take the damn thing with you on a trip? That’s what Zippo’s asking now that the Transportation Security Administration has decided to ban lighters from airplanes as a security measure and to strictly enforce a long-standing law keeping them out of checked luggage, too. Zippo agrees that its lighters shouldn’t be allowed in the passenger cabin but insists there’s no safety reason why they shouldn’t be checked. It claims the ban could cut into sales by as much as 30 percent. Partly, the company says, this is because “Zippo collectors often travel around the country attending ‘swap meets’ and other events frequented by collectors.” Pissing off collectors: Not a good idea. Imagine if they went after Star Trek memorabilia?

—Posted by Tim Nudd

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