The shoe brand Hush Puppies was launched in 1958. At the time it marked a more lay-back era in the USA. 1960 it sold more than one million pairs among all groups of consumers. Even on the feet of the Rolling Stoner Keith Richard, David Bowie and princess Diana. The era passed during the 60´ties. Hush Puppies moved from the city stores to urban parts of the cities. Only nerds had them on.
Suddenly something changed in 1994. That year the Hush Puppies sold roughly 30 000 pairs. The “grand pa” brand was facing a storytelling revolution. A social epidemic. Suddenly the brand exploded and the epicentre was in lower Mahattan, in East Village and SOHO. The New York fashion designers John Bartlett and Anna Sui dressed their models in Hush Puppies. The word of mouth had started. In 1995 Hush Puppies sold 450 000 pairs, and in 1996 more than 1 500 000. Today I fear the brand has once again moved from the fashion stores. Curious about more? Read the eminent story by Malmolm Gladwell “The tipping point”.
The phenomena of a brand becoming religious has been covered expertly by the Danish ad-guru Jesper Kunde in his book “Corporate Religion”. Hush Puppies spent some few years in what Kunde called Brand Heaven. In good company with more long-term religious brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, Ralph Laurent, Amazon and Facebook. Another brand guru, Swedish Thomas Gad has covered the process in his “4 Dimension of Branding” mainly based on the relation we have with brands.
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