History of Zippo: Simplification fire

About 80 years ago marketologichesky genius and absolute reliability united in a masterpiece of minimalism - lighter zippo - has become a fixture of every macho man. h3> We cult thing to be a legend. Stories about the fact that here, they say, manufactured by scooters, and they inexplicably became an icon of an entire subculture (it is, of course, of the Vespa), though utterly truthful, but also utterly dull. Nor can such things happen spontaneously - at least in terms of marketing; That grows quite ordinary details of the history of things and anecdotes.

Already no one not known for certain (but no one will and will not find out) why lighters banned from sale almost 75 years ago, the small Pennsylvania industrialist George Blaisdell, became an object of worship, collectible, the fact of the world of culture, in the end. But "exactly" famous legend, once a summer evening in 1932 Blaisdell came out on the veranda to breathe the club in the town of Bradford, where he lived and relatively unsuccessful (the Great Depression was in full swing) traded oil equipment. On the veranda of a friend Blaisdell unsuccessfully fought the Austrian lighter skinned metal production: cover did not want unscrewed. Enough to enjoy anguish buddy Blaisdell poisonous asked why he did not buy any other, more attractive appearance. "It works!" - Growled one, who finally succeeded in * urit. The word has been said, and if you believe the myth-makers, marketers, George Blaisdell could not sleep all night. The engineer realized that before him - a gold mine. Lighters were needed by all. Lighters are typically not very reliable. Inexpensive and absolutely reliable lighter in those unstable years could really be a success.

Blaisdell began with the implementation of those same Austrian lighters, one of which used his friend, and bought a large batch. Alas, my friend was wrong: the phrase "This work" obviously applies only to a single instance, and not to all products of unknown European manufacturers. Anyway, Blaisdell did not sell a single piece. But he was an engineer and decided that some improvements can correct deal. He took ten dollapov month a small studio for two hundred and sixty uncomplicated bought second-hand equipment (punching machine, welding machine and so on. N.), Hired three masters and set to work. First, remove the cover freely Austrian lighters became flip - now you can wield with one hand. The housing has decreased in size to suitable for the pocket of his jeans, and covered with chrome. The remaining elements such as windscreen around the wick not changed. Its products Blaisdell decided to call the Zipper by analogy with the popular zipper (engineer supposedly liked the sound of it), but the words were patented and had a little change - a hair's breadth as an anonymous Austrian design. Now lighter had to sell.

One of the two components of your business plan - "cheapness and reliability" - immediately had to sacrifice. Almost two dollars - the money for 1932 is not small. But the second part Blaisdell cost drastically. He simply announced that the offers on lighters lifetime warranty. It was a popular gimmick, but in the case of Zippo it worked flawlessly. The fact that other manufacturers really lighters often broke, and everybody knew it. Information about the firm and Blaisdell vppyam free replace broken lighter within 48 hours after receiving the complaint created a furor. However, a new brand of lighters broke rarely.

It is believed that Zippo debut in the movie took place in Vincent Minnelli film "The Hours" (1945). However, most of the lighter was not revealed, but the dialog Judy Garland and Robert Walker should be that this is it. However, the filmmakers quickly realized what a luxury symbol of courage and the slope was in their hands. Montgomery Clift at * urival by Zippo in "now and ever," Errol Flynn - to the "Purpose - Burma," Gregory Peck - in "Chop Hill titled" John Wayne - in the "Green Berets". However, the use of lighter-label quickly became interested. Michael Douglas lovingly set fire to "Zippy" hundred dollar bill in "Black Rain", Bruce Willis with the help of saving hostages in "Die Hard" and Harrison Ford and Sean Connery - themselves tied to a single chair in the "Indiana Jones." In total, it is estimated the company, Zippo appears or is mentioned in about eight hundred films, and emphasizes that the methods of product placement has not been used even once.

The Science of Selling

Engineer Blaisdell was, by his own admission, so-so (whether it is self-critical statement is true, the reader can judge for himself the depth redesign the Austrian lighter). But the seller, he was absolutely remarkable: almost all of his publicity stunts subsequently become part of the business usage. Already in 1935, he offered to engrave on the lighter initials of the owners of the individual, albeit a little money, and if the concrete - just one dollap top of initials or 75 cents if the customer chooses some figure: n * Janica, dog or something else. Because the subject of the democratic Zippo items immediately became the pride of their owners - and virtually nothing. A year later, the idea has been implemented commercial logically follow from the previous one: if the demand is for a lighter partial initials, why not portray the corporate logos on the body? Of course, due to the firms themselves, and receiving excellent business gifts, and "advertising, which is always with you." First this unusual move local company decided Kendall Refining, Blaisdell been supplying fuel for its lighters. Circulation has made a series of 500 copies. And now there is practically no American company, which is not ordered to have corporate Zippo lighter - and outside the United States such a way to attract attention for a long time, and of the broad use.

Blaisdell did not avoid working with very different target audience, because its products were intended for everyone. For some, the highbrow and wealthy, he bought out in 1937, an entire page in the magazine Esquire (for the American press of those years, accustomed to selling advertising space square inch - a rare event), which required an astronomical amount for a host of Zippo in tris thousands dollapov. Money from these Blaisdell was not, and had to take out a loan; effect, however, exceeded all expectations: windproof Lady, Windproof Lady, immediately began work invested in its appearance on the page Esquire money and still remains one of the most successful images in the history of advertising (like Cowboy Marlboro, which is much later, in 1954 year, I picked up - well, of course, Zippo). Those who Esquire srodu not held, has been proposed advertising easier. While in the United States it was popular bars guileless aza * Supply Return panchbord game - a shield with a plurality of randomly numbered holes sealed with a sheet of paper with circles in front of these holes; Leading pre-announced winning numbers and the player poked a pencil in the cup - if it turns out that the number coincides with the opening win, the player gets a prize. Zippo has become, so to speak, sponsor panchborda across the country - and only at this from 1934 to 1940 ppodala 300 thousand lighters. Unfortunately, in 1940 panchbord banned as entertainment, undermining the ethical foundations of society.

Fantasy Blaisdell had seemed inexhaustible. In 1937 he launched the so-called sports series, which marked the beginning of the thematic issues of lighters. First "Sport Series" included lighter depicting golfers, fishermen, hunters, Bulldog, Beagle and somehow Elephant. Model with golfer had room 275, on the basis of this uncomplicated "Sports» Zippo sold at the price of 2, 75 dollapa. But where "limited edition", there is not far to collectors. Collectors and first appeared just before World War II, and now early "sports" lighter - a subject of special hunting zippomanov.

War and Peace

Zippo has always looked like a real man's toy (the appearance of "slim Zippo" for the weak * and on the situation in principle does not change). And if so, then the representatives of the male profession to pass this remarkable device could not. That American soldiers during World War II created a Zippo glory is not local - international.

The standard equipment of the US Army soldier Pennsylvania lighter, of course, was not included. But she was willing to buy their own expense - unpretentious outstanding, elegant, and besides, in the available raw materials. However, compared to the pre-war appearance lighters has undergone some changes. Strategic Copper has replaced stainless steel, chrome, too, was rejected as unacceptable by the wartime luxury. Zippo war years - black, roughly trimmed Lighter - was the best symbol of a difficult time. Instead, the corporate logo on the lighter steel engraving logos units and formations, instead of private initials - personal numbers of soldiers. Especially popular Zippo became the Navy - because sailors always a little more money and free time. The commander began to order "branded" lighter parties now these rarities - an important part of any collection Zippo. At this time there and the first lighters celebrities, adjusted for time - celebrities in uniform. Known black "military" Lighter General Douglas MacArthur, adorned with four stars, matched his title.

When World War II brought fame Zippo, the Vietnamese - glory. Now it was a legitimate element of military equipment, and the War Department did not fail to issue a special instruction, which explained that the Zippo is suitable not only for x urivaniya, but also as a burner or a signal mirror (surface became lighter again brilliant). During the conflict in Southeast Asia Zippo supplied the US Army more than 200 thousand copies of their products. It was born in Vietnam legends about the famous lighters - like the one that was in the breast pocket of Sergeant Martinez and saved him from a bullet, or the one with which Sergeant Nogl signaled the helicopter-tow and alive.

In the world there are 15 official Collectors Club Zippo: five in the US, two in the UK, one - in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Switzerland. According to the official website of Zippo, every fifth owner of a lighter collector. Lighters, like stamps, did not collect "in general" - only the individual thematic series ("sport", "space", issued before 1934, and so on). At the same time the actual size of the collection plays a secondary role - more important than its completeness.

However, the flow into the military-industrial complex Zippo is clearly not going to. Between the two wars, the company continued to work imaginatively - in a rather difficult, because the brand founder George Blaisdell never commanded me to design their design. There were lighter desktop and women, new sports series and the new legends like the story of Zippo, found in the stomach of fish caught (and, of course, intact). Since 1949, the monopoly on the production of lighters Bradford was interrupted - appeared Zippo Canada company with its own production, of course, technologically indistinguishable from Pennsylvania - and the average retail price has reached ten dollapov instance. Since the late 60s begins production of the famous "Space Series" - the company was able to obtain the right to put on the body of the NASA logo and handing astronauts returned to Earth special gift lighters special design; But, of course, they could buy a copy of the simplified everyone.

In 1982, Zippo bosses decided that the fiftieth anniversary of the lighter - a good reason to begin production of the first replicas of vintage editions. Now on a replica account for a significant volume of sales of so-called "first Zippo» - zippomany-newcomers prefer to start with a simple, old-fashioned specimens (incidentally, a replica 1982 now themselves become a subject of the gathering). And chepez twenty years, 3 September 2003, was released on the anniversary, the 400 millionth Zippo. Given that, in spite of the general fight against the Ku * HAND, the company produces 12 million lighters a year, another historic event in the life of Zippo - Lighter polumilliardny - happened at the end of 2011

Author - Alexei Korolev

Text: "Expert Thing»

via expert.ru


See also

New and interesting