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Hummer Footwear, which licenses the brand name from GM, will add items such as waterproof boots, shearling boots and slippers to its line of men’s shoes and boots.
“This is a lifestyle brand,” says Jordan Saliman, president of Hummer Footwear, a division of EJ Footwear.
Says Shaz Kahng, head of strategy at global brand consulting firm Wolff Olins, an Omnicom Group unit: “Licensed products enhance a brand’s equity. For consumers, the brand conveys how that person wants to be perceived.”
People who cannot afford a Hummer can achieve the cachet of ownership by wearing a Hummer shoe, he says.
Among the Big 3, Hummer parent General Motors leads the pack in worldwide sales of licensed product, according to License! Magazine.
In 2002, GM sold $2 billion in licensed products;
DaimlerChrysler AG, $1.5 billion; and Ford Motor Co., $1.1 billion. Jeep introduced branded shoes in late 2002, and Honda’s motorcycle division last year launched a line of boots and shoes.
Hummer Footwear began last February. Print ads from independent ad agency Thompson Co. of Memphis, Tenn., debut this year. The marketing concentrates on current and prospective Hummer vehicle owners. Hummer dealerships sponsor promotions where test drivers are given Hummer shoes.
GM bought the rights to Hummer consumer product development and marketing in North America in 1999 from AM General Corp., maker of the military Humvee vehicles.
Hummer vehicle prices range from $50,000 to more than $100,000; the shoes cost from $100 to $300.
Saliman would not provide dollar sales figures but said the number of retailers selling Hummer shoes will rise from 200 in 2003 to close to 500 by year end.
Hummer Footwear aims to differentiate from competitors by selling through higher end retailers and using unusual materials, such as yak leather.
“We designed the footwear from the ground up based on the image of Hummer,” Saliman says.
“We give retailers a story, bring some show biz to the shoe biz.”
Advertising Age Staff Reporter Jean Halliday contributed to this report
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