Enduring Athlete Brands: Isn’t Reggie Jackson a member of the Jackson 5?

RETRO BRAND — More than three decades after the debut of the Reggie candy bar, New York Yankees legend Reggie Jackson is still extending his brand to snack foods.

As an unrepentant supermarket junkie, I love prowling the aisles to see what new products, brands and promotions are on the shelves. I suppose the addiction stems from my childhood love for cereal and Cracker Jack prizes.

Anyhow, while the New York Yankees are fighting for their lives against the Detroit Tigers tonight, I wanted to share this gem of a find: Reggie Jackson Ballpark-Style Sunflower Seeds. I suppose they are Ballpark-Style because you can spit the seeds on the ground.

To be candid, I avoid shelled seeds because the shards usually become pretty painful. This bag just may remain unopened and displayed with my baseball memorabilia as a museum piece.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Reggie Jackson was Mr. October, the epitome of swagger for any team he played for — seeing tons of postseason play for the Oakland A’s, New York Yankees and California Angels.  He hit .357 with 10 homers in five World Series. His coolness and slugging prowess earned him his own candy bar, the “Reggie,” a milk chocolate, peanut and caramel patty that was, well, simply delicious.

Reggie with “The Reggie.”

So in my excitement for finding Reggie sunflower seeds — ironically selling in Jackson’s “enemy territory” of Boston — I asked a Pongr co-worker in her early 20s how familiar she was with the Baseball Hall of Famer.

“Wasn’t he a member of the Jackson 5?” she asked.

Popularity is fleeting. That’s true for celebrities and it’s very true for brands that assume that consumers think about them 24/7. Advertising exists because new generations of customers must constantly be wooed to first try the product and then become brand loyalists.

Apparently, Reggie Jackson is still famous enough (to us die-hard baseball fans) that his image is being slapped on bags of sunflower seeds decades after his peak. He’s not dependent on those seeds for his livelihood and he’s quite comfortable letting autograph seekers come to him.

Global brands don’t have such a luxury. They must constantly reach out to their fans, because if they don’t, you can be sure that the competition will.

At Pongr, we use photo sharing, a natural habit already enjoyed by hundreds of millions of mobile phone users, to help brands forge closer connections to their most devoted customers. Interested in how brands such as Mountain Dew, Arby’s (more than 660,000 fan pics!) and Pepsi/Frito-Lay have leveraged the power of Pongr?

Download our free eBook, The Ultimate Field Guide to the Photo Sharing Universe, to learn more.

And while you’re watching the Yankees-Tigers tonight, don’t forget to download some Reggie Jackson songs on iTunes!

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