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


Anonymous 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.

Dick Braun, author of the article. said...

Scott,thanks for the nice complement. funny thing about cost they were anything but cheap reel in their day. if the reel was $18.00 in 1955 that same reel in 2015 dollars would run you $158.91. Look up inflation calculator and go to Bureau of labor Statistics. it's a lot of fun to plug in the original price of an item and the year it sold and see what it would cost you in the year 2015. Regards Dick Braun, that-zebco-guy

Unknown said...

Thanks for the wonderful information about Johnson Demonstraters. I had thought it meant they were reels used at shows my salesman to show off the reel.

Unknown said...

Have 2 model 100 what's the worth of them

Dick Braun, author of the article. said...

Value is a very hard and wide thing to answer the DEMO reels are so far and few between that it's really anybody's guess as to what each model would bring on today's market. Condition, condition, condition is 1st and then is it with the box and paperwork and is the correct box stamped DEMO. All three would have a direct bearing on the end value as a collectible item. Dick Braun