Saturday, November 04, 2006
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be brand managers.
This weekend, the Royal Winter Fair here in the Big Tomato has been rudely interrupted by, of all things, a rodeo. I am absolutely tickled at the thought of all those overbred Biffs and Muffys prancing about shopping for stretchy pants and shiny boots, having to rub shoulders with tobacco spitting, pickup truck driving manly men with belt buckles the size of manhole covers. For one glorious weekend, that stupid pet trick known as dressage will be displaced by the serious business of agricultural workers riding angry livestock.
Can I have a ‘hell, yeah.’
Well, if you happen to be attendant at this spectacle, or any like it, keep your eyes peeled for a little brand called Cinch Jeans. I am utterly charmed by these guys, and I think their story has a lot to teach us about how brands work.
Just ten years old, Cinch has managed to find its way into the hearts and onto the backsides of some people that take their traditions pretty seriously. In almost no time at all, brand wise, they’ve earned respect in cowboy culture, a milieu where even the 153 year-old Levis brand is regarded with some suspicion for being vainly obsessed with its fashion street cred. How they did it is like a manual for post modern branding.
Got a pen? Write this down.
First, advocate for somebody. Cinch’s slogan: “Made for the man who lives his life in denim.” (This is as distinct from Ralph Lauren’s jeans slogan, which I believe is “Made for the man who lives his life in denial.”). See? They’re for men. Not everybody. Men. And only men whose self-definition is symbolized by that plainspoken blue fabric that used to mean hard work and lack of pretension.
Then, make whatever matters to them, matter to you. Cinch sponsors two things: Rodeo cowboys and country music stars. That’s it. No Superbowl ads. No flash mobbing, no AdSense. And your sponsored content is that guy riding a bull over there. What about brand extensions? Okay, if you insist. How about shirts. And maybe knives and hats. Stuff that matters to the man who lives his life in denim. Instant authenticity, produced not by history but by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
Want to play a fun game? Toggle back and forth between Cinch’s web site and that of ‘authentic’ Levis. Now come on. Whose jeans would you rather slide into this Saturday morning? That’s what I thought.
And that’s why I’m the Brand Cowboy and not the Brand Pouty Supermodel.