Advertising Alpha

By 1994, Alpha Industries had been operating successfully for 35 years, but its position as a government contractor meant that it had had no need for commercial advertising or marketing. This changed in the 1980s and 1990s as increased competition from low-quality imitations threatened Alpha’s growing commercial sales around the globe. To increase awareness about the Alpha brand and its superior quality and military heritage, Alpha developed a series of print ads targeting crucial markets.

In 1992, Alpha first started making small efforts to advertise the emerging brand by creating a few promotional items. Posters, counter cards, neon signs, and stickers all featuring Alpha’s new “Flying A” logo were developed and distributed to stores for display. In 1994, Alpha expanded its marketing activities to include both domestic and international print ads. The ads, developed in conjunction with an ad agency, prominently featured Alpha’s most popular jackets and Alpha’s experience manufacturing jackets for the US military.

In the United States, print ads appeared in both military trade and popular lifestyle and entertainment magazines. One series of ads ran monthly in ANSOM magazine, a trade magazine for army/navy and outdoor stores, and focused on Alpha’s experience manufacturing for the military and the high quality of its outwear. Classic military styles were prominently featured, such as the M-65 field coat, MA-1 flight jacket, and N-2B parka, and strong military imagery was used in the background. In the fall of 1994, a second series of ads ran in popular magazines, including Rolling Stone, Vibe, Details, and Spin. These full-page ads featured a model wearing an Alpha jacket as part a fashionable outfit and only briefly pointed out Alpha’s history and quality. In response to these ads, Alpha received over 8,500 letters from individuals asking for more information about its products.

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