The year was 2004. GM, riding high on the profits of SUVs, was basking fully in the oversized image of Hummer. The obvious way to celebrate was a branded scent. "Hummer," produced by Elizabeth Arden, was born into a squat bottle with an oversized name badge—spot on packaging, as it turns out.
Hummer tanked 6 years later, collapsing into the bankrupt ashes of old GM. And yet, the smell of Hummer lingers. It's available widely—the curious can take a whiff of a 4.2 ounce bottle of Hummer Cologne for Men Eau de Toilette Spray at Sears for $21, or elsewhere. And yet, it's existed a bit under the radar, at least for us here at the Road & Trackoffices. Nary a bottle graces our medicine cabinets. So it was a surprise to find, in an otherwise excellent piece by the New York Times on the universe of luxury automaker branded-products, the scintillating reminder that Hummer by Hummer, the scent, still existed.
The most fascinating thing of all is why. The NYT spoke to Gene Reamer, a senior manager of licensing operations for General Motors, a seemingly odd choice for an interview about a luxury-branded fragrance. "There are still people trying to produce products with the Hummer name around the world," Reamer told the Times. "Because we still have the active fragrance, we're protecting the brand if we ever decide to bring it back."
The cologne, in essence, is produced because it defends the trademark. If GM ever revives the brand, it'll ride on the wafting odor of Hummer cologne.
Don't think that a liberal application of the stuff with hasten the return, though. Just keeping on shelves is enough to keep the trademark fresh. And that's the most interesting HUMMER factoid you'll hear today.