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Last Update: Thursday October 1, 2020

Key Idea: Use A Famous Face

More than just the owner, Robert Reford symbolizes the environment and arts that are represented in the carefully-selected items sold in Sundance Catalog.

Key Question:


Since fame does fascinate, if you have it, use it. In the hit Broadway musical, "The Producers," the tall, sexy blonde named Ulla, belts out the lyrics to, "If You've Got It, Flaunt It." She is lecturing all of us from her position of power as a woman who has indeed flaunted her goods to get ahead. The show's creator, Mel Brooks, is all tongue-in-check which makes for plenty of hilarity but, in the end, Ulla is right. Sundance has Robert Redford and Sundance flaunts this fact.

What is the problem with having a famous spokesperson?

A: First and foremost there is the potential damage which could be done to your company's image if that celebrity committed a crime or some major social faux pas.

Harry also warns that, "The use of a spokesperson is a really complex topic. If it's perceived as nothing more than an advertising gimmick, it can actually bounce back and harm you after the early going."

He also says we shouldn't be dependent upon the celebrity to deliver a long-term affect on any one customer. The celebrity might help win a new customer but if we fail to deliver quality products and services, the customer will not be back. And, we know from studying other catalog companies that the profit margins are created by repeat, not new, customers.

Think about it

Have you ever considered going after a celebrity endorsement? Is there a way for you to get to and convince a celebrity to even try your product or service?

Clip from: Sundance Catalog

Meet Harry Rosenthal (above) and Brent Beck

Provo Canyon and Salt Lake City, Utah: In this episode of the show, we go into a pristine part of the Rocky Mountains, a place Robert Redford loved and wanted to preserve. To sustain that dream and help pay for it all, he turned to Brent Beck and Harry Rosenthal to implement an idea he had for a catalog business. Brent knew the products. Harry knew direct mail. But, unlike most of us, these three had a fast start for this business -- they were leveraging the Robert Redford brand.

Business is not easy for any of us. When Redford applied for his initial loan from a bank, he was rejected just like the rest of us.  He turned to investors, bought the land  to preserve it from housing developers, and began thinking of how to turn it into a business. That was in the late '60's.

Even celebrities were once "less than famous" and had to crawl, scrap,  risk... take a flying leap, just like the rest of us.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

Sundance Catalog

Jessica Basin, Sr. Marketing Manager, Robert Redford, founder

3865 West 2400 South
Salt Lake City (and Provo), UT 84120

Visit our web site:

Office: 801-975-5238

Business Classification:
Catalog, direct mail

Year Founded: 1989

Use A Famous Face

I knew that when you opened the front cover of Sundance, you were going to see Robert Redford.

This was his big advantage. And so you knew that you were going to have a lot of name recognition, not just because Robert Redford is a famous person but because Robert Redford stands for a lot of things -- support of the environment, support of the arts -- that are meaningful to people in America. So there was more to this than just the image of, `Here's a famous movie actor who's going to sell you things.' This is the image of a man who really stands for certain things in the minds of people that are going to really allow them to want to became a part of what you're trying to do--not just buy from you but become a part of what you're trying to do, and things that you're trying to change in America.

HATTIE: People need to understand that success doesn't come overnight.

HARRY: Most catalog companies that I'm familiar with take four to five years to begin turning a profit. We did it much faster than that. We were very fortunate, and we had really good people working here, tremendous merchants, principally Brent Beck. He's our vice president of merchandising. Brent really was a remarkable piece of luck for us as a company because he was already there. He had no experience in mail-order cataloging at all. He had been running, very successfully, the store up at Sundance and he knew a lot about retail, had a lot of experience there. But he has turned out to be one of the top catalog merchants in the industry.

BRENT: And then a pitcher and then two of our candles that we do so well with the same company that we're running right now.

Mr. SCOTT BECK: When the store--the merchandise that it would get was so reflective of the area.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Brent's son, Scott Beck, grew up at Sundance and is now sales manager for the lodge.

SCOTT: ...and so we had a very good following of people coming with up and skiing with us, staying here during the holidays, and they would leave and someone would comment on the shirt they had or the bag they had or the belt they were wearing or the shoes that they had on, and they said, `Well, I got them at Sundance.' `Well, how can I get one?' `Well, here's Shana Pierson's name. Call her...'

HATTIE: `You gotta fly to Salt Lake. You gotta drive an hour. You gotta, gotta, gotta.'

SCOTT: `...or call them...'


SCOTT: `...explain it to them, and they'll ship it to you.' And so we were, in a sense, in the mail-order business before the catalog business was really popular.

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