14 October 15
The Wright Brothers USA, LLC
In early 2013, we received a phone call from the owners of the reinvented Shinola brand, operating out of Detroit. They were preparing to launch their line of fashionable Shinola Runwell watches, and in the process came up with the creative idea to lead the charge with a series of commemorative watches based on the concept of famous inventors or founders of industries. They chose the Wright brothers as the first in the series, and contacted us about creating a co-branded, limited edition watch. We were, of course, thrilled to partner with the incredible marketing minds at Shinola Detroit!
Shinola’s corporate citizen mission is to help bring manufacturing back to Detroit and the U.S.A. in general. What better path toward achieving that goal than leveraging America’s greatest inventive stories, starting with the Wright brothers?
Plans soon unfolded for a run of 1,000 watches each priced at $1,000. But the Shinola team did not stop there: They also wanted to produce a very limited line of 25 city bikes co-branded with The Wright Brothers, harkening back to the brothers’ early days as bicycle makers. The bikes were priced at $2,950 each.
In December of 2013, the watches and bikes were launched with much fanfare at a very appropriate venue: The Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village, Detroit. The Shinola leadership joined with Amanda Wright Lane, trustee of The Wright Brothers Family Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, and Edsel Ford III to hold a media event that was true to the class that Shinola brings to all of its marketing efforts.
The Shinola watches sold out very quickly, within months, and the bikes sold out upon reaching the Spring sales season of 2014. Shinola stands as a shining example of how The Wright Brothers brand can be co-opted by a licensing partner with tremendous results. This early experience for our brand proved both the high value and popularity of the Wright brothers name, specially among a target audience that consists largely of younger fashionistas and early adopters. In other words, Shinola helped demonstrate the ongoing affinity that people have with the two guys who changed the world in a way few have and whose spirit of perseverance and innovation remains as inspirational today as ever.