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You’d be forgiven for thinking the National Rifle Association would refrain from associating its good name with alcohol. Guns ‘n booze? That’s like the Catholic church taking donations at Hooters. And yet there it is. The NRA has licensed its name to a company that runs a wine club on its behalf. Wayne’s Mob are not alone in their desire to stretch their brand like a particularly pliable piece of turkish taffy. Springfield Armory sells shot glasses. Ruger has invited me to rebrand four steaks on their behalf. I’m sure I’ve got a pair of Hornady Critical Defense crutches in the basement. Wait. No. No I don’t. But I am left wondering why firearms industry marketing mavens don’t stick to the ballistic knitting. Tchotchkes may promote your brand, but associating your good name with cheap tat is a sure way to ruin your rep. Maybe not now, but soon, and forever.

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  1. I wouldn’t mind some branded merchandise, not literally a cattle brand – more like a pocket knife with a logo. Unfortunately all the big players are importing cheap-ass chinese junk instead of the good stuff. Browning is one of the worst.

    That part turns me off more than the act itself. Put your logo on damn near everything if you must, just make it quality everything and I’d buy some.

  2. I remember about 20 years ago, when the NRA gave out handy little pocketknives. Their brand name escapes me, but they were handsome and well made , and made in America. It was a textbook product association: The knife was a nice reminder of the NRA, and the NRA was a nice reminder of the knife.

    By contrast, S&W-branded knives are shoddy junk, ground from the bumpers of scrapped Pakistani taxicabs. They’re an embarrassment to the brand, just like far too many other gun-brand spinoffs. The gun industry should stick to its guns. No, really.

  3. I am a marketer by trade, and brand management is critical to maintaining the value of the brand. A crappy tchotchkey is no way to maintain a brand.

    Browning ought to mean good quality, but it really does not unless it’s a firearm. The items are not the issue, it’s the perceived value of the items.

  4. I always use Smith & Wesson Oil for all my deep frying needs. It’s delicious on salads and lubes my guns beautifully.

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