Zippo Evolves Product Line

In the face of an ever-declining smokers market, Zippo has decided to step up its product line. Instead of the traditional metal lighters that everyone is so familiar with, Zippo’s starting a new product line of camping tools and accessories.

The rationale behind this new direction is that campers also need fire, something Zippo has experience with. There’s also a history of high-quality, durable manufacturing in the line of Zippo lighters, which is part of the reason they’ve been so favored by smokers in the past.

What Are The New Products?
Not only does the new product line include other types of lighters, such as candle lighters,

Campers might benefit more from Zippo’s new products than smokers will. (Picture taken by gmmail and posted on Flickr. Downloaded August 31st, 2012.)

but it also has products like small handsaws and hatchets. Zippo has also started producing windproof stoves, which allow campers to keep their cooking fires lit much more easily in harsh weather conditions.

The Zippo hand warmer, for example uses lighter fluid to keep a steady heat going through a small metal frame that warms a pouch.

Zippo’s Marketing Moves
It’s easy to wonder what kind of marketing move this is for Zippo. The change in direction away from targeting smokers if probably a good one, but as far as camping multi-tools go, they can be hit or miss. Because the new product line hasn’t been fully released, there aren’t any reviews out yet for these new tools.

If Zippo does the job well, though, they could be making a move to extend their history of corporate success. The company’s been doing business since 1930’s, and has been a cultural icon since then. But culture changes, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll survive the trend of smoking becoming increasingly unfashionable.

Zippo lighters have long been known for their countless art designs. (Picture taken by Heidi Schempp Fournier and posted on Flickr. Downloaded August 31st,. 2012.)

Zippo’s Reputation
The company does have a remarkably loyal following, mostly garnered from the many years that they’ve produced excellent lighters. Zippo lighters are known for lighting easily in windy conditions, being durable, ease of use, and having a “cool” factor that has captured them a unique cultural place. In fact, Zippo’s recognizable design has led to “an unaided awareness factor of 98 percent. That means 98 out of every 100 people surveyed have knowledge of the Zippo name and lighter without being coached in any manner — an astonishing recognition factor.”

They’re also known for having a lifetime warranty on all their lighters, something that has separated their products from disposable products in the past. It remains to be seen how they’ll extend this warranty to other camping supplies. Hopefully this aspect of Zippo’s legacy will remain intact as they move to a new market niche.

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