Inside Newell, the Smithsonian of American Brands

HOBOKEN – Newell Brands, formerly Newell Rubbermaid, owns an astonishing array of classic brands. For those of us who like these classics, they are the owners of American crown jewels.

These include Sunbeam, Shakespeare, Blue Diamond, Oster, Coleman, Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Elmer’s, Rawlings, Elmer’s Glue, Ball jars, X-ACTO knives, Crock-Pots, Dymo label printers, Graco baby products, NUK pinkies, Stearn’s life vests, Calphalon cookware and First Alert fire detectors. It even owns Yankee Candle. Oh and Diamond and Blue Tip matches, Shakespeare fishing rods, Stearn’s life vests and Mr. Coffee.

Like so many companies, it is an amalgam of companies, all now part of New Jersey-based Newell. This fall, the stock took a fall, in a time when the market has had record gain after record gain.

The question is what happened. On SeekingAlpha.com, I analyzed the company, which has struggled since then Newell Rubbermaid took over Jarden, which owned some of the struggling leftovers from Chainsaw Al of Sunbeam.

The thesis is that there are too many brands in its portfolio, and it cannot run them all properly, as they are so many, so different, and in such varied states of repair or disrepair.

  • A full story is HERE.

Some of the other brands of Newell we have discussed in past years include:

4 Comments

  1. Jarden was doing great assembling it’s stable of brands, much like Newell did in the past. Newell USED TO assemble a strong stable of brands too, but then sold off almost all of them over time. Why on earth they wanted to “start over” again and buy the much larger stable of brands at Jarden is beyond me, and now we’re seeing the messy results.

  2. Also, why did they name the resulting monster “Newell”? The company sold or discontinued Newell window hardware ages ago, so this was a curious choice of corporate name. Much better would have been to keep the iconic Rubbermaid name alone, or combine with Coleman or Sunbeam from the Jarden side. All of it a colossal mistake, IMO.

  3. Finally, Newell sold off its Diamond wood goods (matches, toothpicks, etc.) BUT: not its Diamond plastic cutlery. (I hate it when companies split brands like that!) By the way, there is no brand in their stable called “Blue Diamond”. Are you thinking of the nuts?

  4. Everything is now owned by a few monoliths that cut back on quality and marketing to save some short-term cash, eventually driving the brand into obscurity or dollar stores and then oblivion. It’s like hoarding pets; you can’t care for that many as one entity, they languish, get sick, and eventually die.

    God, I mean, I keep up with this stuff for fun, and I can envision so many ways to market so many of these classic brands–Rubbermaid, for instance, could out those new-age Ziploc disposable containers as lasting, durable, green, and classic American. So many of these could get touched up with some “a piece of classic Americana for families of all stripes (or all Stars and Stripes, to be cute)” But they don’t advertise, they cut back on them, and let them fade out.

    I have some really fond memories, for instance, of Sunbeam. Now? Dollar store cheap-o batteries. They last four hours in a tape player.

    Former President Carter recently said we’ve become an oligarchy. I believe there’s one of its own inside the business world–these Pac-Man companies who run around gobbling up all the smaller companies to become chimeras who let their parts rot.

    I own Crock-Pot and Dymo products that are almost forty years old and still run fine. These are good, solid products that last.

    Crock-Pot, especially, has a perfect place in today’s world where both parents have to work.

    When was the last time you saw an ad for Crock-Pot?

    I think I’ve made my point in great detail–these hoarding conglomerates are killing some solid, stable, storied brands.

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