The story of '47 Brand began at Fenway Park in 1939, just as it did for Ted Williams in his rookie season there. Arthur D'Angelo was 12, and he and twin brother Henry were a pair of Boston immigrants who had fled Italy's fascist government. They began selling two-cent newspapers outside the ballpark that year, dreaming the American dream.
They moved on to shining shoes and selling flowers and ice cream outside Fenway, and in 1947, the season after Williams and the Red Sox had won the American League pennant, the D'Angelos started selling actual Red Sox pennants. They were believed to be the first pennants ever sold in Major League Baseball. Their "Twins Enterprise" was on its way to souvenir legend, starting as a single street cart and a passion for giving fans what they wanted.
Just before the Red Sox made their victorious postseason run last fall, Arthur, the surviving twin, was honored by the club and the city of Boston with the dedication of "Arthur's Way," a private road that intersects with Yawkey Way adjacent to his famous and remodeled Souvenir Store. But the story of the D'Angelos' success, and the transformation of "Twins Enterprise" into '47 Brand in honor of the family's history, reaches across all of Major League Baseball and sports.
On Wednesday, that popular retailer within the MLB.com Shop announced the launch of "Let Your You Out" -- its new global brand platform and creative campaign. The "Let Your You Out" platform launches with a fully integrated campaign celebrating its long-term partnership with MLB.
The MLB.com Shop and the Lids chain of 630 stores in 48 states will be the retail partners for the initial campaign that will extend until May 5. Then the campaign will roll out globally across several independent retailers, as well as over event, social and digital channels.
"The 'Let Your You Out' platform and creative campaign demonstrates the evolution of the brand and complements the direction that the business is headed by engaging with consumers, retailers and partners," said Steven D'Angelo, one of Arthur's four sons who run the company today, along with Bobby, David and Mark. "We have increased our marketing budget by over 100 percent from 2013, as we believe the marketing function is essential to achieving our overall business goals and elevating '47 Brand to become a leader in the sports lifestyle apparel and headwear space."
'47 Brand's diverse product collections and brand experiences promote individuality and urge consumers to be their true selves, using fashion as a form of expressing who they are. That is already apparent among MLB.com shoppers who eat up those offerings year-round. There's a good chance you have at least one of their Franchise caps in your arsenal, and maybe a Slugger Hood or V-neck Scrum T-shirt.
"'47 Brand has been a tremendous partner for Major League Baseball, and their products are extremely popular among our fans," said Howard Smith, MLB senior vice president of licensing. "Their company has grown dramatically since the time we began working together, and it is exciting to see '47 Brand take this next step with their creative 'Let Your You Out' platform."
Arthur also threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sept. 21 as part of that recognition of a well-known Fenway fixture. All four of his sons went to U-Mass Amherst as business majors, and today they make what you probably want, based on Shop sales here.
Today, '47 Brand lists itself as a proud partner of MLB. The company employs more than 250 corporate and retail associates around the world and is headquartered in Boston and Dedham, Mass. What began with a pennant and grew into popular caps has continued to spread, and now with a new attitude as well.
"We saw an opportunity to leverage our wide portfolio of products, styles and looks to launch a platform that inspires consumers to embrace their personal sense of style and accent who they already are," said Wayne Best, vice president of marketing for '47 Brand. "We are excited to launch our new global platform and creative campaign, as we believe it will propel the growth of the brand and take our brand into new markets and our company to new heights."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.