Carmex lip balm, with its familiar yellow-capped tiny jar, has served its customers loyally for almost 70 years with virtually no fanfare and no advertising or any real marketing effort to speak of.
But all that's about to change. The venerable brand has decided it needs to establish a brand identity among chapped-lip consumers and has hired a new sales manager--a former employee of rival
Blistex--to oversee the company's sales and growth. The company also has started advertising, is launching new lines, and will even add flavors such as cherry and strawberry in the fall. Paul
Woelbing, parent company Carmax Lab's controller and grandson of product founder Alfred Woelbing, said after so many years it's finally time to give the company a face. "We've had our own little
world where we come in, make Carmex and ship it out every day. But we have not gone out to meet the buyers," said Woelbing, who works with father Don, the company's president, and brother Eric, the
vice president. Its first ad campaign this winter took Carmex officials to New York and Chicago, where they hung billboards, bright yellow, of course, handed out magnets and blitzed areas with yellow
posters proclaiming: "It tingles" and "It heals." More campaigns will follow, they say. But traditionalists needn't worry; the trademark yellow packaging's not going anywhere. "People sort of think
it's like blue jeans or something else," Woelbing said. "It's almost like an iconic product."
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