Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Johnson Reels' Marketing Genius By Dick Braun

Dick Braun, the Zebco guru, gave a talk on these reels at the last ORCA Nationals. He graciously allowed me to reproduce it on the blog for those who were unable to make his presentation. Many thanks to Dick for sharing the info!

Johnson Reels' Marketing Genus

By Dick Braun

In the Mid to late '50s, Joe Fisherman walks into the bait and tackle store looking for some new equipment for that new state or world record he knew was out there just waiting for him to show up and set the hoook.

Joe walks up to the counter and says he is looking for a new rod/reel and-the owner of the shop says Boy are you in luck, JOhnson reels district salesman just dropped off this brand new Johnson rod/reel combo and told me to lend it out to the fisher person looking to buy a new outfit. Take it with you today and use it. See how you like it, bring it back into the store before we close this evening or tomorrow morning and I'll sell you one just like it without the word DEMO or DEMONNSTRATOR stamped into the reel.

As far as I've been able to find out there are only 4 different models of the Johnson reels that were DEMO Reels,

1. Johnson Century Model #100,


2. Johnson Citation Model #110,


3. Johnson Centennial Model #120, Note that I have two of this model different only in the fact that DEMO is a little smaller type and on the left back side of the front/back plate of the reel spool housing, the other has a slightly large type of the word DEMO and is located on the right side of the back/front plate behind the handle so to speak, (see photo~).



4. Johnson model #80 side mount reel, this one has Demonstrator stamped on the box as we'll as the reel, (see photos). All of these reels were 1st issue model of each.



There could be a rumored 5th model, the Sabra, but so far it's just that, a rumor, as one has never been found to date that I know of.

An inventive way to get your reel into the hands of the fishing community, lend it to them. A reel for the day to fish with at no cost to them (the fisher person) and end up maybe selling another of your product which is what it was all about. What a great marketing ploy this was!

How many DEMO/DEMONSTRATOR reels are still out there for the collecting public to find and have? Want to borrow my Demo for a days' fishing, to test it out?

-- Dick Braun

3 comments:

思佩璇佩璇翰佩璇 said...
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jmaran1 said...

Speaking of Century reels, can anybody tell me the difference between Century 100A and 100B models?
I'm trying to restore a 100A Model (double handle) and I'm looking for some spare parts. The 100B model seems to be more common, at least on eBay.

Scott said...

I found this article searching for a little history on my fathers Johnson rod and reel combo.

It's so fascinating because this is the exact story he tells me. My father, a baby boomer, went into the local tackle store as an adolescent to look for a combo to get started. The gentleman helped him to these beautiful rods and shinny green reels. That night he came back, satisfied to make a purchase.

Today, that rod and reel combo is mine. He fixed it up real nice and is happy to have seen it lasted more than 50 years of on and off fishing. Mine doesn't say demo on it but it is some incredible craftsmanship for what was probably a cheap combo at the time.