market in 1933 and became an indispensable tool for U.S. armed forces during WWII. The iconic product has been seen in movies and TV shows worldwide, and early versions are particularly sought after by collectors. The lighter shape is so distinctive and recognizable that early this century, Zippo trademarked it to protect against copy-catting.
Now in its eighth decade, the Zippo brand has been extended to new categories like fragrances (shown here) . . . wristwatches . . . pens . . . knives. Mass-customization options allow for design-your-own lighters and engrave your own message. Still, the original Zippo maintains its cachet, most recently serving as a custom-engraved party favor during Oscar night revels.
Via social media marketing, Zippo is "dependable and befriendable" on Facebook, with nearly 400,000 likes. Nearly 7,000 people follow Zippo's Twitter account and it has thousands of views on YouTube.
The new digital initiative promotes Zippo's music sponsorships (metal, rock, alternative, and country music). Details are on the Zippo Encore microsite, including free downloadable apps and updates on the latest concerts, interviews, and more. You can follow the Encore activities on Twitter, too. Think of how many people have had the experience of holding up a lighter during concerts, and the connection with music makes sense. Plus it's very social for an 80-year-old brand, don't you think?