From the original belief in China’s 9th century Tang Dynasty that they expelled evil spirits and brought good luck, to delighting the pyromaniac inside us all today: Fireworks have become a staple of bombastic celebrations around the world, and none more so than this week’s 4th of July festivities in America.
Since the first Independence Day festivities on July 4th, 1777 fireworks have lit up the sky. They have evolved both in fiery spectacle as well as in brand. Many of the names all of us have known since we were children: Black Cats, M-80s, Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets. But which ones are actually the biggest brands in the world of fireworks?
Some names are owned and controlled by individual companies, for example the only official M-80s are made by Cherry Bomb. The most commonly recognized brand is TNT and this is mostly because of their logo- not the brand identity itself. The majority of the “names” we recognize are just common phrases for different types of fireworks. With consumer fireworks sales expected to approach $1 billion dollars this year, we are all more familiar with these brands than we might initially recall.
Fireworks exist in a space where the top brands aren’t immediately recognizable to the majority of consumers, but we all still know them when we see them. Other examples in the consumer world tend to be represented by big “house of brands” structures. Proctor and Gamble owns many house hold names when it comes to consumer packaged-goods, but the actual P&G brand has a much lower level of awareness. In this case it is intentional but not dissimilar to consumers knowing the various types of fireworks without a high level of awareness for the brand names behind them.
Every year we see them on the end caps at grocery stores, in tents outside of shopping malls or, in some states, even huge warehouse stores. However, with fireworks only really being displayed twice a year, for 4th of July and New Year’s Eve, we don’t find it necessary to become loyal to a specific brand. For a company and the market as whole, not having a memorable brand identity is an opportunity missed.
As we all gather around to light up the night sky and celebrate our country’s independence this year, maybe take a look at the names behind the brightly colored wrappers before we all light them on fire.