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The Zippo handwarmer

Zippo Lighting It Up
Tailgate & Licensed Sports Among Hot Products for 2011
December 14, 2010

As the number of smokers declines each year, you’d think a company like Zippo might be facing a dark future. Well, you’d be wrong. Between new product lines and devoted collectors, business is just fine, thanks. The iconic brand has successfully leveraged its reputation for safety, utility and reliability and is lighting up new categories—including licensed sports and tailgating.

Zippo’s stainless steel handwarmers should be attracting plenty of attention among tailgate retailers at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show in Las Vegas this January.

“It’s small, good-looking, easy to use and really radiates heat,” says Global Licensing Manager Violet Snyder. “It’s really amazing. The handwarmers are already carried by a lot of great outdoor stores and have become very popular with women. We’re getting some really good reviews.”

For licensed sports buyers, a lot of attention will be focused on the Open Field Collection, a collaboration between Zippo and the NFL that encompasses everything from windproof lighters to emergency firestarter kits. Of course, football and baseball fans are already familiar with Zippo’s eye-popping line of lighters, which are imprinted with NFL and MLB logos and colors.

“The artwork we can achieve is just incredible,” says Snyder. “It’s crisp, clean and we are always looking for new ways to freshen our lines. We are famous for our imprinting capabilities, and everything is done here in Bradford, PA.”

“Zippos are not only functioning tools,” she adds, “they are highly collectible. There are seven or eight millions collectors who own five or more Zippo lighters, and there are still a lot of consumers who never open the product.”

For sports fans, Zippo has combined lighters with other imprinted products such as shot glasses to create gift sets. The company plans to expand this business in 2011; look for a lighter-handwarmer combo. Zippo also holds licenses with several NASCAR drivers—including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Jr. and Dale Sr.—and sponsors a race at Watkins Glen.

A New England Patriots open field lighter (left), a San Francisco Giants classic lighter (center) and a Pittsburgh Steelers open field fire starter kit (right)





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