Zimmer's face and voice have been central to the branding of Men's Wearhouse with his tag line, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it." But he and the company he founded are no longer seeing eye to eye.
For many men hoping to get more for less, Men's Wearhouse has been a go-to choice. Zimmer built Men's Wearhouse from a single store in Texas to a popular nation-wide chain. Now, the man many associate with "looking good for less," is out.
"He founded the company; it doesn't look good, it doesn't look nice and nobody likes a mean brand," Golden Gate University marketing professor Michal Strahilevitz, Ph.D., said.
Strahilevitz says the move by Men's Wearhouse to fire their popular spokesperson may backfire with consumers.
"You hear those ads, you know it's Men's Wearhouse," she said. "Now if they want to create a new image, people aren't going to remember those ads are Men's Warehouse. They're not going to have this identity they've got."
Men's Wearhouse wouldn't say why Zimmer was shown the door, but the former pitchman is now 64 years old and the company is competing for consumer dollars that find higher profit margins with a younger demographic.
Strahilevitz warns consumers are on to the ruse.
"[If] you want to add youth, add youth, but you don't get rid of the guy who stood for that brand for over 20 years," she said.
In a statement, Zimmer said his ouster comes after he expressed concerns about the direction of the company, saying "instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer."
Companies going through a transition and changing the way they do business isn't new, as long as what hooked customers in the first place doesn't change.