Ad Age Spotlights The Retail Revolution & Private Brands

This week’s issue of the venerable advertising trade magazine Advertising Age puts a spotlight on retail with a red cover featuring the Target dog complete with a bull’s-eye on one eye, the Walmart asterisk on the other and a Kohl’s dog tag. The more than a dozen articles cover everything from multicultural issues to our favorite subject Private Brand. The article on Private Brand, “Private Brands Evolve From Generics to Must-Haves” presents an interesting twist to the now familiar store and weaves together a story that takes Private Brand well beyond packaged goods to include Target and Kohl’s where Private Brands account for more than half of the product portfolio. According to the article:

The private-brand concept has been a consistent driver of sales for discount retail giants for decades, but over the years it has been adapted to suit shifting consumer demands. Today, private brands have evolved from generic value products into must-have exclusives at many discounters, and marketing budgets played a big role in that evolution.


It started with that wardrobe staple: jeans, or as they used to be called, dungarees. In the “60s and “70s, private brands were essentially private-label generics, many of which started in the denim category. Value gave retailers an edge — that is, until every store began to offer the same value brands at the same prices. In the “90s, however, the concept of new and exclusive private brands took off when retailers learned that “value” can also be defined as having distinct products that serve as differentiators, driving store traffic and loyalty.

Read all the articles:

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.