Unlike Brandy Melville, Sperry Is NOT F***ing Around

Yesterday’s “06880” story on the by-now-legendary checkout counter at Brandy Melville generated 127 comments in less than 24 hours — a record for this blog in the names-required era.

Which got photographer Lynn U. Miller thinking. Last Sunday, she was impressed by a sign she saw at Sperry — the Top-Sider-and-more store at 56 Main Street that (like Brandy Melville) has a strong toehold in towns like Westport.

Lynn loved its message, and thought it was a perfect antidote to the crass words — and vitriolic comments — from and about Brandy Melville.

Sperry store

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


No matter what you think of Sperry’s message, one thing is certain:

It ain’t gonna cause 127 comments on “06880.”


16 responses to “Unlike Brandy Melville, Sperry Is NOT F***ing Around

  1. Andy Yemma


  2. Cindy Brown

    Love this! Thanks Lynn and Dan for sharing. Have a great day!

  3. Lynn–ditto on what Cindy posted.

  4. Peter Blaj

    Dan — As a longtime ad guy, I think your last sentence hits the nail on the head. The purpose of the advertising featured in your previous post is to “cause comments”, not to generate sales. For a few decades now, a narcissistic subset of our industry has made names of themselves by deliberately tweaking the public with offensive and, in this case, literally obscene ads.

    Rarely do the brands stick with these campaigns after the initial brouhaha dies down — because they just don’t work. To prove my point: how many readers here even remember the name of this stupid F-bombing retail joint — much less what they sell and what makes them different?

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      And in that vein, we have Urban Outfitters right around the corner downtown. Nobody can seriously argue that their frequent and myriad controversial products and resulting PR “missteps” are anything other than poorly disguised attempts to garner viral media mentions, amping up their forbidden fruit cachet.
      Are we sure the strategy is always ineffective, or are most of us just so far out of their target demos, that we just don’t see that our reflexive dismissal of the perpetrators helps build and bolster their “credibility” within the target groups? In either case, it’s an absolutely fascinating topic. (I’d love to see the stats and conversion data, if you used it as the basis of your last paragraph, rather than anecdotal experience.)
      I’m not going to say that we no longer “get” our adolescents, as much as I just think that we gain wisdom with age. Experience gives us an alternative to adopting surly and snarky attitudes as an attempt to provoke reactions from “others.” (It can be a fun persona to try, on occasion, I’m sure…) But we learn it’s much better to live the life of our own choosing, seeking experiences that we enjoy, find gratifying, and fulfilling. (Rather than having to base our choices only on the predicted reactions we aim to generate. Too tedious and limiting!) Baggage is baggage. Swear, or not. Be happy or not. Annoy relatives, or not. As long as we have the internal motivation for the path we follow, it’s genuine. Someone with sincerity engenders much more of my tolerance, even for things that aren’t for me… like those stickers!

      • Peter Blau

        In bricks & mortar retailing, unlike direct/online marketing, you cannot track ad creative tactics to actual sales. But here are few good case histories:
        – French Connection UK: rebranded themselves “fcuk” — with “FCUK Christmas” being the most infamous usage. Today they’re a shrinking, money-losing chain.
        – Benneton: a once huge but now invisible brand, featured non-obscene but distasteful ad images (man dying of AIDS, baby with bloody umbilical cord) having nothing to do with the clothing they sold.
        – American Apparel: not only ran ads featured young models in simulated sex positions; their CEO routinely slept with his young employees and sexually-harrassed others. His once-high-flying brand has seen its sales gone south, and his investors fired him.

  5. Peter Blau

    Sorry, mistyped: it’s Peter Blau, not Blaj

  6. Shawn Webb

    Dan, As a writer, I’m sure you find it interesting that there are these two stories about words. In this age of texting and chatting and all the slang and abbreviations we actually have two stories about words… complete grammatically correct sentences.
    Regarding Brandy Melville, the marketplace will ultimately determine what is distasteful.
    Regarding Sperry – This is a GREAT inspirational message! It is perfect as we head into summer.

  7. Arline Gertzoff

    I am on vacation and just want to thank all the Wespprters for entertaining me. Shop where you want. The shop probably got a lot of free publicity and curious people. I hope all have a great day as I watch the Dolphins and Hungary Pelicans in Key Colony, Soon I can get out my chair for my 68 summer at Compo with saved perimeter parking

  8. Wendy Cusick

    Thanks for the encouraging and uplifting picture from Sperry, Dan and Lynn. Along with all the other nice pictures from Lynn and other “06880” photographers Thank You 🙂
    Much needed after the other store’s NOT so uplifting marketing.
    (That other post is still a “fire storm” of 140 comments and growing. WOW)

  9. Susan Hopkins

    Thumbs Up: Sperry’s esoteric message. Thank you, Lynn U. Miller. Dan: Nice work regarding your “toehold” reference! ; )

  10. Roseanne Levy

    Thanks to you, Lynn and Sperry for promoting friendship and adventure for any age or size.
    PS – My daughter thinks BM is for gullible kids who used to get taken in by Abercrombie’s crass marketing techniques. For those without pre teen/ teen daughters, they only carry size small, creating automatic exclusivity. It’s good for parents to point out to kids how various advertising techniques affect our self image.

  11. Monika Lazaro

    Refreshing. Thank you Lynn and Dan.

  12. Daniel Katz

    Hmmm; Hallmark says it better and Hallmark spells “Imbark” correctly.

  13. Sharon Paulsen

    Good point in Peter Blau’s comment.
    Certain hard hitting campaign attempts do not usually work, in the long run. Even if considerable buzz is generated to excess, in the beginning.
    Why? I believe it’s because substance over satire (or trend) is what tends to stick. It’s simple, and it works.
    At least, from the “Ad Person” standpoint.