In the early 1980’s Ray Ban (which was once a wildly popular brand of sunglasses) was only selling about 18,000 pairs annually. Then in 1986 the brand became resurgent, selling 40,000 pairs seemingly overnight. By the late 80’s it was selling millions of pairs globally. Specifically, aviator sunglasses. That particular style of sunglasses enjoyed double digit growth for many years and now continue to be a fashion staple.
What can we attribute this spike to? Product placement.
Specifically Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun.
Coincidentally there was also a huge uptick in sales of bomber jackets and also military enlistment immediately after Top Gun was released. How big?
So much so that the military set up recruitment tables outside movie theaters to field questions from wanna be pilots who felt a “need for speed” after seeing the film.
All branches of the armed forces saw a combined 20,000 person boost in enlistment in the year after Top Gun was released; 16,000 of those recruits were in the Navy. Specifically an increase in applicants to become naval aviators, like Cruise’s character Maverick from the movie.
In an interview with the Los Angeles times, Lt. Cmdr. Laura Marlowe, officer in charge of recruiting for the naval officer program in Arizona and San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, said her recruiters have received twice as many calls as usual about the aviation program after the movie was released.
“They couldn’t specifically say it was a direct result of ‘Top Gun,’ but they suspect it probably had a lot to do with it because when they would talk to applicants, about 90 percent said they had seen the movie,”
What does this reveal to the average business owner?
Your personal brand matters as does product placement. Both can have massive influence on moving the sales needle.
Bausch and Lomb, parent company of Ray Ban, engaged in strategic product placement in a very stealth manner. Top Gun wasn’t the first or last time for them either. Remember Tom Cruise’s Ray Ban Wayfarer’s from Risky Business? How about Will Smith’s Ray Ban’s in the movie Men In Black? Yep, all product placements. Hell, Cruise practically kept that company in business if you think about it.
All of this begs the question…
How are you getting eyes on your product and attention for your brand in a subtle but powerful way? Selling without overtly selling if you will.
Are you presenting your message in the right manner to the right audience?
Pro Tip: Don’t open a steakhouse in a town full of vegans.
What sort of social proof do you have that your product or service attracts a crowd and delivers on all fronts?
Before and after photos, testimonials, celebrity endorsement and yes, product placement.
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of Top Gun, and Cruise recently announced a sequel is finally in the works for release 2020. I wonder how much of a sales spike we will see and for what products.
Begin by asking yourself how you can do the same.
And how can you capitalize on current trends, events or holidays?
For example, Stadium Status musician Stephanie Quayle has partnered with Wrangler Jeans for the National Day of The American Cowboy Tour. Where she will perform a run of five appearances and performances to coincide with the annual National Day of the American Cowboy celebration, taking place July 27 in Fort Worth, Texas in the Stockyards National Historic District.
This is a prime example of 100% brand alignment. Her sound and style match both the Western traditions and modern contours of Wrangler’s iconic brand perfectly.
What market or niche are you not currently involved in that is super congruent with your brand?
I’ve given you a lot of food for thought today. For answers to those questions and to learn how to position your product or service better, join this group A-list top performers: http://www.yesterdaysunderdog.com
P.S. It’s Christmas in July the rest of the month. So if you join before 11:59pm EST on July 31st, you’ll receive lifetime access to my Business Growth Vault as a FREE bonus. ($49. Value)