Let’s take a pause for a minute and think about all of those “People of Walmart” pictures and enjoy them while we can. Just like a blossoming flower, Walmart took a year off of college to backpack through Europe, find itself, and come back with some fashion-sense in the form of purchasing the iconic men’s fashion brand Bonobos.
Goliath has purchased David, and the reaction from longtime supporters has been a definite mixed bag of emotions.
“The first thing that happened was the consumer reactions … it was a rough day… There was the good, there was the bad and then there was the downright ugly.”
Bonobos CEO Micky Onvural
The talk Onvural gave at the IAB’s Direct Brand Summit tried to explain some of the public admonishing and brand betrayal expressed by the public on Twitter.
While there are two sides to every story, this one might actually have some positive points after all… Other than the cool $310 million dollars lining the pockets of company execs.
“Yes, there was the opportunity behind the scenes to take advantage of [Walmart’s] scale from a shipping fees and credit card fees perspective,” Onvural said. “But there was also this opportunity to really reaffirm what we stood for in light of this changing ecosystem.”
We totally get that Bonobos sold out and now Onvural and Andy Dunn, the founder and former CEO, can kick back on an island Eddie Murphy style, but with Walmart’s reach, the brand has the potential to kick its purpose into high gear.
Pairing Bonobos’ commitment to style and quality with the global engagement of Walmart, maybe, just maybe, Dunn made the right choice. As Dunn makes his own transition to Walmart, he’ll still be able to keep a pulse on the direction of his creation.
“I feel like I’ve gone from being the captain of a dinghy to a deckhand on an aircraft carrier.”
So before you get all “Negative Nancy” about the sellout, chew on the fact that you can get Bononos style almost anywhere, rather than the mere 30(ish) locations they had. Even their social messages and presence will reach more.
Take, for example, the “#EvolvetheDefinition” campaign that asked men to explain the definition of “masculinity”. With the power of Walmart fueling the voice across all social platforms, the fabric of the Bonobos brand now has a Goliath fighting for it.
Business is about creating something and expanding the purpose. In this case, Walmart may be the ideal partner to pick up the fight for Bonobos, and bring the calling-card quality to the masses, not just the select “in-the-know” few.