retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There was a big opening on Broadway last night that demonstrated the power of brand equity. The actors on stage included Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz, Katie Homes and Judy Greer, and the play, "Dead Accounts," was written by Theresa Rebeck, who created the TV series "Smash."

But for much of the play, which takes place in Cincinnati, there is a lot of attention paid to a product variously described as "God's benediction" and the "best ice cream on earth." The product is Graeter's, and the characters played by Butz and Holmes spend much of the first scene eating it and talking about it.

In the case of "Dead Accounts," Graeter's serves as a metaphor for how the Midwest is different from Manhattan; it is described as crafted rather than manufactured, unpretentious and high quality. All qualities that the folks from Graeter's are likely to appreciate. (Not so much the New York theater critics, who in this morning's papers give the play a mixed reception. That said, the presence of Katie Holmes probably guarantees that "Dead Accounts" will complete the limited, four-month run that has been announced.)

I saw the play on Wednesday night, at the press preview, and have to say that it made me think a lot about powerful a great brand can be when it symbolizes and represents a culture. That's really impressive, and rare ... and something of which Graeter's should be proud.

In the end, I left the play hankering for some Graeter's ... and luckily enough, there was some Black Raspberry Chip at home in the freezer ... it isn't widely available on the east coast, but I'm glad that my kitchen happens to be one of the places where one can get it.
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