I’ve been quietly rooting for Gibson for a while now. When I first started playing guitar, I was all about the Gibson Les Paul. It was the late 80s and early 90s, and by far Gibson was king. I would Gibsons at shows all the time. I remember finally getting an ‘authentic’ Gibson Les Paul Studio in the late 90s and I was super stoked.
But then, things were changing. Bad business decisions and being out of touch with current trends and a variety of legal battles and natural disasters have plagued the biz. Finally, with a new CEO, I was excited to see the come back. The last few months, I’ve been seeing more shops with sweet Gibsons and the quality appeared to be coming back. I was expecting a strong upswing over the next few years.
Then.. the video. I guess, if you’ve been under a rock, you might not know what I’m talking about, so might want to watch this first:
This video, was creepy, oddly stressful to watch and frankly – aggressive. As someone who enjoys marketing I was fascinated about how bad this direction was/is. There were people throughout the chain that said “yes, this is great”, and what it did was isolate the guitar community, target builders and disrupting market. It was a bully move.
But it didn’t end there. A few days after they pulled this video, it was followed up with a lawsuit – where Gibson is suing Dean/Luna Guitars. You can read more about this here.
Now, instead of a creep presence, the gear community went on the attack. Memes started flooding the interwebs. Basically, punching the bully in the nose.
Now, I understand the importance of trademark infringement and the anger resulting in Chibson (Gibson counterfeit guitars). I get that. But going after builders with similar body shaps, is ridiculous. There is no confusing a Dean flying V and a Gibson flying V. It’s not a straight rip off – and as I understand it, the body is not trademarkable – only the headstock. But it’s the aggressive move that angered people.
Gibson should be working on their community, creating excitement and creating a ‘vibe’ with their brand. Not threaten other business. Dumb play.
Today, Gibson released a press release.
So does this press release fix things? Not sure. But it’s a start. It’s important to acknowledge that they screwed up. But I feel like this company is losing market share.. by the minute, and they can afford mistakes like this.
Their marketing should be about community first. And I’m talking about the gear community first. Analyze the trends and take charge with positive action – and not by strong arming. Honestly.. they should see what Fender does as a start.
Let me know what you think!