Branding Lessons from Paul Newman

April 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

Paul Newman was a great movie star who was famous for roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and Cool Hand Luke to name a few. In addition to being a great actor, he was an innovative brand builder and marketer.

Paul Newman founded the Newman’s Own Brand in 1982 with a salad dressing that was mixed with his friend A.E. Hotchner in the basement of the horse barn on his property in Connecticut. The products that Newman developed were old family recipes that the friends used to give out as gifts. Friends suggested that they should begin to market their homemade salad dressings.


The Newman’s Own Brand is built on a simple and believable purpose. Make stuff that tastes really good and use the profit’s to do really good things for people, like kids. He made sure his promise was executed consistently in all aspects of his branding. In a crowded category, salad dressings, Newman recognized that he couldn’t compete on good-tasting products alone. There had to be another way to differentiate his brand. Good food that does good is how most people think about his brand. Since 1982, Newman’s Own has donated over $350 million dollars to charitable causes. Newman’s Own sales have increased an average of 10% a year for the past 10 years.

Paul Newman was aware that people might buy his brand once because it had his name on it and twice because all the profits went to charity. He also knew that people would become loyal, long-term customers only if it was a really good product. Newman’s makes a great product. Since 1982, Newman’s Own has been making all natural products to help make great meals. Newman’s Own offers customers more than 100 products including salsa, pasta sauce, dressings, and marinade.

Many celebrity based brands have faded over time especially after the founder’s death. However, the Newman’s Own Brand is built on authentic values and a purpose that Paul Newman believed in and resonates with people. The future for the Newman’s Own Brand looks bright.

What is your favorite Newman’s Own Product?


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