Posted by Abe Sauer on February 4, 2010 02:43 PM
When Weatherproof posted a massive billboard – in Times Square – featuring President Barack Obama in one of the brand's jackets, the White House was not amused. Following some wrangling, during which time Weatherproof milked the press for all it was worth, the brand agreed to remove the ad.
So what is the brand doing now that it lost the "endorsement" of a President from Illinois? It's getting the endorsement of another President from Illinois.
A Weatherproof billboard on Las Vegas Boulevard will feature a photoshopped image of President Abraham Lincoln in front of the White House “wearing” one of the brand's jackets. It's the same style President Obama was pictured wearing. The ad, which will run until the end of the month, features the slogan “Fit for a President.”
Meanwhile, Weatherproof's Times Square billboard is being replaced with an image of Mount Rushmore and the “Fit for a President” tag line. It is an ingenious gambit on Weatherproof's part to further capitalize on the brand's previous exposure without risking the negative press by badgering the nation's leader. It also equates the brand with presidential quality, a claim stealthily suggested by the original Obama ad, now ready to be reinforced. The ads are already so well known that they are being spoofed.
The brand's strategy is hardly just clever billboards. Weatherproof has invested in five-second television ads during large national events such as the Grammy Awards. Of the abbreviated commercials, which are so short they only mention the Weatherproof name, the company's president said, "I’m only interested in marketing the name Weatherproof."
Promoting the name is an important challenge. One problem for the brand is its very name. "Weatherproof" is more of an adjective than a brand name. Indeed, simple Google searches for a combination of "weatherproof + jacket" return a wide variety of results including Weatherproofco.com, which is hardly presidential.
The brand may be Weatherproof, but it is not yet confusion-proof.