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How a NYC opera singer branded his umbrellas

05/20/2010

Well, let’s say, I think it was an opera singer. You see, on rainy days generic umbrellas are hawked, pitched, and pushed at you from every street corner — especially those closest to public transportation. Each vendor has the same product that might last a round trip — if you don’t lose your no-brand umbrella on a train, bus, or taxi.

Except this one vendor. He must sell umbrellas to pay for opera lessons. The air resonates with song Umbrellas! over and over. Something like an Italian operatic Gregorian chant if there were such a thing.

Talk about low-cost marketing! In the free space of a street corner, without a sign or twitter account, he branded his product. Reach with a terrific tenor timbre. Disintermediation with a unique song. Frequency — he’s there at the same corner every time it rains (and I’m off to a meeting).

Today, as I laid my latest emergency umbrella to rest, it hit me. I made a mental note to buy a new umbrella and — you guessed it — his song popped into my brain.

Now that’s branding.

What’s your experience? Have you been struck by the branding expertise of an “ordinary” joe or jayne?

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