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The Brands Behind Duct Tape
By: Cindy Wendland
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In Seventeen magazine, Duck Tape brand is running an ad promoting back-to-school style with Duck Tape. Their website shows many back-to-school projects called "ducktivities." In our house, a binder from the last school year was patched up stylishly with a pickle design duck tape to get it ready for the next school year. Duck tape pens have been given as gifts, and we even have shoes that were repaired with duck tape. While this tape is the MacGyver of products, you may be surprised at its origins and confused by the branding.

At first, we thought the maker of duct tape was just a smart manufacturer and adapted to the trends, capturing the market with colors and patterns. Upon further investigation it appears that Johnson & Johnson invented duct tape, made it in green, and it was called duck tape by the military. It came back from war and was made in silver and returned to the name duct tape. Ironically, it turns out that duct tape is not good to use for ductwork, as it dries out and is flammable. Now duct tape is used to enhance pens, binders, backpacks, and purses.

There are many great stories about duct tape usage. Our favorite is that it was used on the Apollo 13 space mission to fix a carbon dioxide filter problem. With duct tape, people feel they can solve most problems. 

All of this led us to wonder — who makes duct tape? Duct tape is made by 3M Scotch, Manco, Shurtape, Gorilla — at least ten different companies make it. We didn’t know that more than one company made it. How does each company differentiate itself? Duck Tape calls their website duckbrand.com and offers a Duck Tape Club that features reward points. Most of the market segment just likes using the product. The challenge will continue to be to differentiate themselves, if they can.

   

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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