Lee Valley & Veritas Woodworking
Lee Valley 40 Years  
  Volume 13, Issue 2 - November 2018    
From the Collection
Star-Kist tape measure
Far too often when goods are brought to market, the corporate advertising goal is to develop a new and catchy way to get that product to the public. In some instances, the item and its intended usage don't matter because the packaging and delivery system take precedence. In this writer's opinion, this item is a most egregious and disconnected attempt by an advertising group to promote a product.
Star-Kist tape measure
Perhaps this was a promotion to clear out old stock? Who else is thinking this is a dysfunctional marriage? And how did the advertising mind behind it even make the connection? Aside from the proverbial "fish" (got away, caught, saw) story where the arm length is proportional to the degree of exaggeration when retelling said story, there seems to be no coherent association aside from one word on the label.

I cannot see a carpenter carrying the can in his pouch or someone rummaging through the kitchen drawer for it. Was this a promotion that accompanied a product, or was it an exercise in testing penetration into a new market? Where was that raised eyebrow and accompanying chuckle when this item got to shelf? If the item was sold, there could perhaps be a case for misrepresentation, as I am sure many thought they were buying tuna rather than a promotional item.
Star-Kist tape measure
Make no mistake – what was being promoted was the Star-Kist® name, not the tape measure.

How would one rationalize the cost of printing that box? It also appears that a standard-sized tin was used, complete with correct labelling for tuna and containing the snappy statement "the measurable difference". The rejigging of the production line to make these and the subsequent involvement by a rule maker would have been costly. There is a 50-inch American-made rule inside the can. Who could have resisted opening the top, thus destroying the intended usage of this tool? I guess the biggest question must be how many were made and where and why were they distributed? Promotional products either disappear or go into drawers to return as oddities many years later.
Star-Kist tape measure
There is, of course, no fault to be assigned to anyone and in no way am I criticizing
the Star-Kist organization. Corporations often go through a change during which there can be a lack of communication as to the company's goals. Furthermore, important decisions are often farmed out to contractors or new employees. Combine this with the pressure to perform and often the original mandate of the company gets lost.

Please note: The views expressed here are by the writer and have no connection to Lee Valley Tools. This writer is an old disgruntled ogre who despises most everything and has a passionate hatred for oatmeal and fishcakes along with blue socks.

D.S. Orr

D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years. Now retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.
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