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A TV Show Not Only Gives Retailers a Boost, But Offers Branding Insights


What do Wal-Mart, Target, Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports, Toys R Us and Hallmark, Kohls, Cabela’s, Dick’s and Dollar General have in common? They’re all experiencing a surge in sales from Duck Commander products spurred by the immense popularity of reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” (Think “Seinfeld” on the bayou.) Projected to be the most successful TV show ever, this series follows the day-in-the-life antics of a down-home Southern family (the Robertsons) who just happen to operate a multi-million-dollar duck call business, and has generated another merchandising/product tie-in business which will amount to around $400 million by year end.

Between their current top selling “DD” products, which include a top-10 Christmas album, best-selling books, mobile games, Duck Dynasty Chevy, a “camo” furniture line, apparel, kitchen and cooking items and a host more, this empire and the cast who has brilliantly leveraged their own celebrity, has become its own mega-brand, with over 75 licensing deals under its belt.

Wal-Mart’s best-selling graphic T-shirts in all genders are those with the program’s and family’s favorite one-liners like “Faith, Family, and Facial Hair.” Sarah McKinney, Director of Communications at Wal-Mart, notes “Wal-Mart currently sells ‘Duck Dynasty’ products in six different categories, from apparel to home goods to sporting gear and Band-Aids.”

Target carries dozens of different DD merchandise like DVD’s, totes, coolers, bed linens and more. Kohls’ sales of T-shirts, rugs and men’s furnishings are very impressive.

A Tupperware teacup popularized by Uncle Si on the show has gained momentum in the marketplace and has put Tupperware back on the map. Under Armour’s wildly successful branding of the Robertson’s “camo” wear adds another feather to their cap. Toys R Us sells out of DD’s board games, slumber bags and throws.

Upholstery producer Jackson Furniture signed an exclusive agreement with DD and has introduced a line of stationary and motion upholstery (25 SKU’s) at the High Point Market in North Carolina. Not to be left out, Hallmark is selling greeting cards and ornaments sporting the cast’s faces and catchphrases.

An interesting thing about Duck Dynasty and something that is a bit of a phenomenon is that with a 50/50 gender split fan base between men and women, it cuts across and attracts such a wide demographic and age group. This certainly accounts for through-the-roof revenues and product lines that cater to men, women and children.

Not only are retailers’ bottom lines increasing from stocking Duck Dynasty’s popular merchandise, but they can learn a thing or two from this entertainment empire.

Retailers need to stick to their core business and customer base and focus on what made them successful in the first place. After all, when the Duck Dynasty marketplace has reached saturation point, that family will still have its core $45 million-a-year business.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Consumers want a visually enticing story and shopping experience that they can relate and/or aspire to. Have a strategy and implement it the right way at the right time; create a signature image and style and ensure you’re reaching shoppers in the best way possible. Try new merchandising and marketing techniques, but make sure they fit your store brand in the long term. Create the story for your store with new ideas and make sure you get the right people to implement them from the front office to the front checkout lines. A retail recruiting firm is the best place to find targeted staff who’ll understand your mission.

Take a cue from the Duck Dynasty success story—when people are engaged, they’ll not only remember you, but they’ll keep coming back for more.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, holiday sales, holiday spending,
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