Airstream Inspires Devotion
Airstream is one of America’s most iconic products. Sometimes called a Silver Twinkie because it looked like the snack food of the same name, these trailers wowed and amazed campers for years. When first introduced, Airstream wanted to show Americans a cheaper alternative to travel. They could haul their trailer with an ordinary pick up truck or a larger car, and they didn’t have to worry about costly flights or expensive hotel rooms. When the recession hit in recent years, many people found themselves cutting down on travel costs, which led to a resurgence in the Airstream brand. Even as other companies faltered, Airstream remained profitable.
The popularity of Airstream ranges from those who never make a purchase without looking at their budget first to those with money to burn. In July of 2012, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted even talked about the company in a public speech. Shelby County, Ohio is home to one of the largest and oldest manufacturing plants devoted to the camper, and Husted mentioned the durability of those campers in his speech. At least 60 percent of all Airstream campers made in the company’s history are still in working condition, and many families still use the same campers they did decades ago.
The vintage feel of Airstream trailers and campers is just one reason for the company’s success. People today remember the trips they took with their parents or grandparents, and they want to share those experiences with a new generation. The popularity of television shows like “Mad Men” helped to an extent as well. While the show hasn’t yet shown Don Draper taking his kids on the road in an Airstream, it did lead to an increase in the popularity of mid-century modern designs and products. The same people who spend thousands on a chair from Charles Eames or a couch from Michael Graves are the same ones buying renovated Airstream campers.
For every new Airstream fan, there are at least two people who loved these campers for generations. Matthew McConaughy loved his camper so much that he actually lived in it before eventually buying a house for his family, and Johnny Depp sometimes stays in his Airstream on film sets. Other famous fans include Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Brad Pitt. Even political figures like Laura Bush and John F. Kennedy used Airstream campers in the past.
While sales of these campers dropped off for a few years, Airstream recently noted that its sales are now the same as they were before the recession. While the company now sells new campers and trailers, fans of the original models love buying and renovating models from the 1950s and 1960s, making Airstream fans one of the most active fan bases in the world.