Duct Tape Needs No Advertising

Nov 17, 2011

If you Google duct tape, you’ll discover that there are eleven million, seven-hundred-thousand results.  For duct tape.  An industrial product.

Duct Tape was made first by Johnson and Johnson in nineteen-forty-two.  First use was to tape ammunition boxes during World War II because it was moisture-proof.   GIs also used it to repair guns, Jeeps, airplanes, almost everything.

Its original color was olive drab.  It was only after the war that duct tape found its way into the booming, post-war home-building business.  Popular for wrapping the joints of air conditioning and heating ductwork, it was then that it earned the name duct-tape and the color became silver to match the ductwork.  Now it’s every color imaginable.

My eighth-grade granddaughter makes roses out of duct tape.  For a Destination Imagination project she made a skirt out of it.  Purses, wallets, flip-flops.  You name it.  Most of those nearly twelve million duct tape results on Google have nothing to do with ductwork.  They’re all about crafts.  

People constantly are looking for good examples of true marketing.  Duct tape is literally a clinic on real product marketing.  When was the last time you saw an ad for duct tape?

Creating ideas that constantly extend the use of a product is textbook marketing, and that level of marketing minimizes the need for advertising.


John Malmo is a marketing consultant who concentrates on helping business owners grow their businesses with effective marketing.  To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to AskMalmo.com.