I had the pleasure recently to attend a function at a nearby country club. In fine style, we wished well a fellow ad man on the doorstep of his retirement. While standing at the bar, ordering a beverage, an associate approached me — smiling from ear-to-ear. I inquired as to the source of his folly, and he simply stated: “I just shaved.” “You just shaved?” I questioned. He went on to explain that since we were at a golf club, the bathroom was located in the locker room. And in the locker room, they supplied fancy-lad members with razors, shaving cream and most importantly, aftershave.

The latter, a brand associated with old school barbers, had fallen by the wayside some years ago — “Clubman.” Clubman aftershave was the cat’s pajamas when first appeared on the market nearly 200 years ago in France. Today, it’s made in a Los Angeles factory and let’s face it, the brand has seen better days. This elixir had the aroma of so many 72 year-old men who had come before us, and my associate was bathed in it. It was at once, horrific and hilarious. It was also an inspiration — several of us ended up visiting the lockers that evening for a shave and, of course, a splash of the fabulous Clubman. I felt not only a part of a novel fellowship, I felt like a man.

Yes, I felt like a “Clubman.”

It was a great time and a huge laugh, and yes, Janet made me take a few showers upon my return home. But it made me think. Not only did I smell the scent of suave masculinity, I smelled opportunity. So many out-of-favor brands in the past have been rediscovered by a new market and brought back to life. Not unlike an undervalued security in the stock market, there’s huge upside when you buy low. There are opportunities, like Clubman, out there in the business/marketing world. Back in the eighties, Bozell/Detroit helped take Chrysler from worst to first. Harley Davidson invested in themselves at one of their lowest points. The liquor industry has several brand comeback stories.

It’s my vision that the entire line of Clubman personal care and shaving products are going to make a giant comeback. Sure, in the beginning, it may be a novelty, but with some sound brand positioning this thing could go large. Clubman Super bowl spots rolling out the new “sport line”, Clubman team of coed spokeswomen covering campuses, not to mention the hot new “Clubwoman” brand are going to launch them far past the “Axe Effect.” Ah, yes, I can smell it now.

The opportunity to elevate great, old brands is out there. Check out this one at or the next time you find yourself at an upscale club, barbershop or brothel. Maybe you too can soak in the bouquet that is Clubman. Smell you later.