Kiss and Sell: Glam Rockers Kiss Have Slapped Their Names on Junky Merch for 40 Years Now. Why Are They Suddenly Sporting $900 Suits?

By Klara, Robert | ADWEEK, June 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Kiss and Sell: Glam Rockers Kiss Have Slapped Their Names on Junky Merch for 40 Years Now. Why Are They Suddenly Sporting $900 Suits?


Klara, Robert, ADWEEK


Gene Simmons, the bassist and most recognizable member of 1970s rock band Kiss, was once asked what he learned from his first job delivering newspapers in Queens, New York. "If someone likes you," he said, "they'll buy what you're selling--whether or not they need it."

Simmons learned that lesson at 13. Today, at 64, he and his band mates have proven just how far that nugget of wisdom can be taken. Simmons might be famous for his fire-spitting, serpent-tongued stage persona, but a big part of his $300 million fortune has come not from playing but licensing.

To date, Kiss has stamped its name and likenesses on an estimated 3,000 products--not just the predictable concert swag like T-shirts and belt buckles, but also beer, condoms, slot machines, a miniature golf course, a restaurant chain, a Hello Kitty franchise and even a branded coffin (the "Kiss Kasket"). As guitarist Paul Stanley unabashedly put it, "We will put our brand on anything."

But as the ads here suggest, there's more going on behind Kiss' branding than the mere printing of money. Licensing 101 teaches that even the most inveterate name slappers observe some limits. Martha Stewart might endorse scores of home products but probably not a brand of motor oil. So how can a bunch of rockers who usually hawk clutter like $7 Johnny Lightning diecast cars (shown in this 1998 ad) also manage to strike a pose for designer John Varvatos, whose suits (shown in this 2014 ad) sell for $895 at Nordstrom?

"Kiss is sliding up the scale, and it's interesting that they've been able to do that," noted Chris Raih, founder and managing director of Los Angeles-based marketing firm Zambezi. Raih attributes the veteran rock band's plasticity--its rare ability to endorse lowbrow and high--to several factors. One is the seven-year run of A&E's Gene Simmons Family Jewels, which revealed the oversexed rocker to be an articulate family man whose kids attended private schools. "The show mellowed his image," Raih said.

There's also a burnishing that happens with the passage of time, especially when it comes to rock bands. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Kiss and Sell: Glam Rockers Kiss Have Slapped Their Names on Junky Merch for 40 Years Now. Why Are They Suddenly Sporting $900 Suits?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.