I Guess They Didn’t Like The Way He Looked…He Wasn’t Looking Forward

By June 20, 2013February 25th, 2021Destroying Conventional Wisdom

When they fired  Men’s Wearhouse founder and executive chairman George Zimmer, they said that “When the founder is no longer connecting or relevant, it becomes very tricky to put a new image on the company“.

I just read an article on Fox Business that spoke of the termination of Zimmer. The article was remarkable, not for what it did say, but rather for what it didn’t say. The real news is centered around what they failed to report. So let’s take a look at what the article said.


So what did Zimmer do wrong?

  • Some say he couldn’t, or wouldn’t connect with Millennials and Gen Y shoppers
  • the aging brand “screamed value not fashion” (or simply put, it was a Price and Item brand)

    That’s not to say that price/item advertising isn’t essential for many marketers. It is. But when your ad is about your price, your brand is about your price. Period.

  • “business attire has changed dramatically over the last ten years”..10??? The world is changing daily. Speed and adaptability are essential
  • “out-of-touch television ads are just the tip of the iceberg” yep…and Men’s Wearhouse isn’t alone in broadcasting that pablum.
  • “Gen Y shoppers, who are looking for authentic brands with a mission” …big Duh moment here…we’re in the “social economy”. We’re in the age of social activism with Occupy Wall Street and dictatorial banishment…what brand doesn’t understand that you have to show you care?
In the article by Gabrielle Karol, the piece makes it appear as if the brand decided yesterday to make the “abrupt” change. I think otherwise.If you watch the video above and if you’ve seen any of their more recent commercials, you can clearly see that the brand made the change forward some time ago.

In performing a quick social audit, you can see that Men’s Wearhouse is active on all of the social platforms.  Actually more active than a lot of brands.They’re not doing a bad job. In looking through their profiles it’s apparent that they ARE engaging with Millenials.

They are shifting focus away from traditional, boring television ads and it’s clearly obvious that they are moving in the right direction to attract and engage with a younger audience.

George Zimmer is guilty of resisting change. Zimmer is guilty of not understanding a social economy. He’s guilty of doing things the same way he used to do them. He’s guilty of exactly what the article says. He simply wasn’t relevant any longer.

So what’s the real news that the article failed to report? Simple…there’s a LOT of George Zimmer types out there.There are a lot of businesses and CEOs running those businesses that are denying the inevitable and are ignoring the onset of their irrelevance.

If relevance is a standard of judgment for business leaders, there are going to be a lot of George Zimmers out there facing the firing squad.

If you are not championing change you are destined to succumb to it. It’s not an if, it’s a when.


Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

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