Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do You Know This Brand?

If you live anywhere near where men of action drive big trucks and act mean when they're getting their energy drinks at 7-Eleven, you've seen this decal on the backs of those big trucks.

I'd been seeing it for some time and for the life of me couldn't find out what it stood for. I searched "deer head logo" and "antler decal" to no avail. Then on Sunday, I saw two of these on the windshield of a muddy Jeep, with the word BROWNING in giant white letters between the deer heads. Yes, someone is so devoted to Browning that they've plastered the name on their windshield. This is fan loyalty in the extreme and it's a trend any brand would pay big money for.

I haven't hunted deer in many years, not since my brother-in-law stuck me up in his tree-stand with a joint and a rifle at 5:30 on a freezing November morning in Missouri. After the joint, I really had no interest in looking for deer and was instead enthralled with the way the long brown grass was waving in the wind. I know a lot of hunters, I grew up around guns and I can shoot pretty straight, but I'm just not that into it. Many others are very into it and Browning has cultivated a cult of sorts with this deer head logo. They call it the "Buckmark."

Here's Brandy, showing off her Buckmark tattoo. She even put a "TM" next to the words "Country Girl." That is really sweet, and I'll bet Brandy is a really cool chick and makes killer venison jerky. I know she can down a few Busch Lights while swigging from a bottle of Jack and singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all summer long.

This is Tyler. He's got the Buckmark on his right bicep as well as his day-glo orange safety hunting cap. Tyler is not going to college and that's fine. College isn't for everybody. By the time he's 30, Tyler will have many stories of the big bucks he's bagged and he will never worry about doing a 9 to 5. He's the kind of guy who could pick up odd jobs around town and be perfectly happy so long as there's gas in the camoflauged ATV and a bottle of doe-in-heat urine in his vest pocket.

When Michael asked his girl to the prom, she outdid the Buckmark on his vest lapel and put one on her orange tarp dress. That is serious love, man.

Oh, sure, it's easy to make fun of hunters and gun owners and hillbillies, and those same people make fun of me when I get together with them. ("You're a writer? What do you write? Like, letters and such?") But this is a story about brand loyalty. These people love Browning. There are over 2,000 more examples of people showing their love for Browning right here. It's all a part of the "Show Us Your Buckmark" contest, the winner of which will win, what else, a Browning rifle.

Here's a comprehensive history of the brand's logo, a mark they've been using for 30 years.

How many companies can inspire this kind of devotion, that their fans would literally brand themselves with the brand's logo? I can't think of one. UPDATE: Anonymous points out in the comments that Harley-Davidson fans are just as devoted. Good call.

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