Building a Brand: Scotch Tape

Thursday October 13, 2022

When 3M employee Richard Drew invented Scotch Tape, the company knew it would be an instant success. While word of mouth from companies who bought the tape helped increase Scotch Tape’s sales, 3M needed to do more to break into consumers’ households. To do so, 3M developed a series of advertisements designed to capture homeowners’ attention and ensure its tape would stick around.

In the 1930s when 3M began selling Scotch Tape, it positioned its Scotch brand as a product with limitless possibilities – it can fix anything. For this reason, as the Great Depression began, the tape caught a lot of people’s attention. Instead of replacing their broken items, people could spend a fraction of the cost on Scotch Tape to repair them. While most companies suffered losses and layoffs during the Depression, 3M thrived and expanded, prospering from Scotch Tape’s versatility.

Unfortunately, after World War II began in 1936, consumers could no longer purchase Scotch Tape for a while – 3M needed to divert its tape production to the war effort. To reassure customers of its return, 3M reminded people in ads that the tape would return after its support of the American troops. The ads featured consumers struggling with tasks that Scotch Tape makes easy and ads showing how the tape helped American soldiers. These messages quelled consumers’ frustration with the tape’s lack of availability because it was supporting a cause important to them.

In 1944, 3M introduced Scotch Tape’s mascot: Scotty McTape. A rhyming, kilt-wearing Scottish boy, Scotty often appeared on his own promoting tape, with his catchphrase, “The tape with the plaid is the best to be had!”, or in short comics helping a character solve his or her dilemma by offering them Scotch tape as a solution. Scotty’s creation gave Scotch Tape a face and personality while emphasizing the fake Scottish heritage Richard Drew crafted when he dubbed the name ‘Scotch’.

3M put a lot of effort in building its Scotch brand and it paid off. By connecting with its customers, 3M made Scotch Tape a household name and a brand whose strong foundation would withstand the test of time nearly a century later.

Much like 3M, American Biltrite Inc. Tape Products Division, now known as ABI Tape, has been determined to perfect the art of tape manufacturing throughout the years. We have been in the business for more than 110 years and are continuously finding new ways to better our range of pressure sensitive tapes for the Automotive, Graphics, HVAC, Insulation, Industrial, Shoe & Leather Goods, and Surface Protection market. Here at ABI Tape, we strive to satisfy customers with our promise of high-performance products, unrivaled dependability, and endless innovation and we plan on sticking around for a long time to come!

Contact an Industry Expert