Image makeover for the Brawny Man

August 29, 2006 by  

The new edition of Business Week features an interesting article about how to refresh a brand icon. The Brawny Man is now a pseudo-metrosexual who still chops down trees, but listens to progressive jazz and country music. It is unclear if he is single or married.

There are some great learnings in this article about how the brand team went about defining and refining the persona for this icon.

BUSINESS WEEK: Brawny Rolls out a New Guy
September 6, 2006


Consumers have long recognized the paper towel brand by its lumberjack mascot. But to stay relevant, he needed an update.

… For 30 years the paper products company had only minimally tinkered with the visage of its successful spokeshunk. He had, after all, helped the paper towels reach an enviable 98% name-recognition rate in the U.S.

… The sandy-blond, sweeping hair and blue denim shirt … both looked out of step. Even the style in which he was drawn seemed to hark back to the glory days of Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck.

The team set out to create a “character book” for the Brawny man. It includes adjectives to describe him: real, genuine, strong, the ideal next-door neighbor. It also notes he likes to drink beer—Labatts Canadian or a light domestic—and listens to progressive jazz and country music. The debate about his marital status heated up so much that his handlers decided to leave it an open question as to whether he’s single or not.

… Yearlong customer research led to a new, more clean-cut look.

… However he still loves the outdoors, knows a lot about chopping down trees, and is back to wearing the familiar red hunting shirt.

After the change, the company says, his 7% likability score with consumers rose to 74%.

“Brawny stands for strength,” says the executive. “The more he conveys strength, the better.”

… core customers, mothers 25 to 49 years old, are looking for some new things in a man these days. “Women’s expectations of men are very different than they were 30 years ago,” he says. “Eighty percent of our target women work. She’s multitasking. She seeks balance, and she seeks more organization in her life. Men are evolving to play a much bigger role in that area. That provides for a fairly significant emotional connection to our audience.”

Check out Business Week for the complete article and other great articles.

Be sure to checkout the Brawny Academy Web site, where the Brawny Man spurts “woodsy wisdom” while carrying a boulder, chopping wood or performing mouth-to-mouth on a raccoon. [I’m not kidding!]

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