While rolling through the cornfields of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the last thing we expected to see was, as Ed Sullivan would say, “ A really big Shoe!” But there it was, rising out of the corn – the Haines Shoe House. Marketing 101 tells advertisers that one of the best ways to attract customers is through humor. But I doubt that “Colonel” Mahlon Haines (the shoe tycoon of York, Pennsylvania) had ever taken a marketing class … or knew much about novelty architecture. When he built this 3 bed/2 bath “Shoe House” in 1948, he expected two things: Frst, he wanted you to laugh …
and second, to think of SHOES. And it certainly worked on us.
The Colonel, known for his outlandish advertising gimmicks, turned $127 worth of shoes into a large, successful shoe store chain, and became a millionaire in the process.
Today, a shoe house seems wacky and weird. But is it? Compare this to Budweiser Beer spending $4,000,000 for a 30-second Superbowl commercial showing a bunch of clydesdale horses playing football.
You make the call.