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This story reminded me of how Timberland, Carhartt, etc. didn't really know how to respond when people outside of their (then) target market turned outdoors wear into street fashion.

The internet is great! I remembered an old (11/93)article on the topic, and was able to find it at the NY Times: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7DF133DF934A35752C1A965958260&sec=&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Be well!

It proves that there might not have been the right research applied to uses of the product up front. Sometimes a team dreams up a product without testing how the whole market might interact with it. I'm sure they tested their target audience and the new demographic came up as a delightful surprise as no one might have thought of checking. Good thing they did ride the wave ;-)

Well, an interesting story about the surprise in marketing is the launch of Sony Playstation in Italy. This is not about a different use of a product but about a different target. The product was targeted to teens, media bought accordingly, distribution as well. Then they discover that product was purchased by adults, 25/30s, single, to play with friends. Reposition then followed.

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