April 14, 2023

Tupperware Troubles

Tupperware Troubles

One of this week’s headliners was that Tupperware is at high risk of going out of business after 77 years. The Tupperware brand has had remarkable staying power since Earl Tupper invented it in 1946, and it sparked an army of competitors. Apparently, as Tupperware parties went the way of the flip phone, the brand couldn’t stay top-of-mind with consumers. Meanwhile, rivals like Rubbermaid gained ground by mastering both traditional retail and online sales channels, and brands with eco-friendly plastics crowded into its territory.

It’s a cautionary tale. Many CEOs would give their eye teeth to run an iconic brand that sells a great product that customers love, but all of that wasn’t enough. Although Tupperware saw a surge in popularity during the home cooking boom of the pandemic, the direct-sales company never took full advantage of modern selling tools, like ecommerce. Now it’s running out of cash.

It’s the latest example of how every company needs to make sure it’s changing with the times, especially when it comes to sales and marketing. If you’re not meeting customers where they are or where they are going to be, even before they know it—whether that’s over lunch, at trade shows or on Discord—you’re going to lose market share, plain and simple.

That said, there are still many 100-year-old brands that have managed to stay relevant. Carhartt, Colgate, and Kraft are a few that come to mind. Carhartt, once known only for its work clothes, has gotten a second wind as a streetwear brand. Colgate is going after eco-friendly customers with new sustainable toothpaste tubes. Kraft is coming up with spicy new ketchups. And the list of companies and products goes on.

And they’re not just innovating. They’re getting in front of brand-new customers. Another icon, L.L. Bean, just had its second-strongest year in 110 years by introducing Gen Zers to its canvas tote bags. Tiktokers are using its embroidery service to inscribe the totes with ironic comments, like “fake heiress.”

Tupperware’s execs are still looking for financing, so the party may not be over—or at least not yet. Maybe their marketing team will come up with a way to get hipsters to rediscover the classic plastic containers and save the brand.

The traditional tax deadline of April 15 has been extended to April 18 this year, and in some states and regions even further for various reasons. For most of us, whether we file or not next Tuesday we still have to make sure our tax liability for 2022 is paid in full or we could be subject to various tax penalties and interest. If you haven’t focused on it yet, this weekend is the time. We’re here if you need us.