George Zimmer founded the Men’s Wearhouse about 35 years ago. And he regularly appeared in the company’s TV ads beginning in 1985. He was truly the voice of Men’s Wearhouse as it grew into a nearly 1,250 unit chain.
So, publicly, it was more than a little surprising that Zimmer was fired on June 19 by the board of the company he created — especially since sales and profits were up. Clearly, behind the scenes, Zimmer and the board had problems.
How much will this scenario affect the Men’s Wearhouse? Here’s what Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times reported:
“Companies can fire a founder. But they can’t fire his brand. That’s the dilemma Men’s Wearhouse is left with after dumping its founder and spokesman, George Zimmer, a decision announced Wednesday. Mr. Zimmer had starred in the suit retailer’s commercials for almost 30 years, guaranteeing men that ‘you’re going to like the way you look.’”
“On Thursday, a day after the company’s terse announcement, reaction on social media continued to be fast and furious, indicating that Mr. Zimmer had made the jump from business executive to cultural icon. ‘George Zimmer’ was one of the top searches on Google on Wednesday, and news of the firing made the gossip sites TMZ and Gawker. And the Men’s Wearhouse Facebook page had more than 200 comments criticizing the company for ousting Mr. Zimmer, with sentiments like ‘If George Zimmer isn’t coming back, neither am I!’ and riffs on Mr. Zimmer’s signature ad closer like ‘You’re going to miss the way I shopped. I guarantee it.'”
Click the image of Zimmer from a 1988 ad to read more.
Photo source: New York Times