Saying Goodbye to the Cigar Store Indian Trophy

Building the scene: An environment for change

In 2020 people said enough was enough. The community spirit behind the Black Lives Matter political and social global movement evolved and people were taking action. People saw tolerance and ignorance towards racial violence rightfully unacceptable.

At this time, many marketers stood back from their brand names and reviewed their meaning and the power behind their communication.  Historic brands with global presence were auditing their brand marks and monikers, and many rapidly moved towards change. You don’t need to look far to find examples, but some notables include sporting teams like the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, and local confectionary brands like Redskins, Chicos and Eskimo Pie, and recently Australia’s iconic Coon Cheese.

Left: Early 20th Century Tobacconist. Right: Shop! Awards cigar store Indian trophy.

Like other brand symbols, we knew that Shop! Australia and New Zealand's cigar store Indian trophy was something that needed to be re-imagined. And after the postponement of our 2020 Retail Marketing Awards due to COVID-19, this was indeed the perfect time to do some serious research, soul-searching and brainstorming to work out what’s next.

Shop! Australia and New Zealand set up a local team to conduct research that would create foundations for a fresh approach for the redesign of the new trophy.

Background: The cigar store Indian trophy

The cigar store Indian is one of the earliest forms of point of sale pieces alongside other symbols like the barber shop pole and the medical cross used for pharmacy signage. These historic elements are globally recognisable and still used today.

The cigar store Indian has been a recognised symbol of instore display excellence for more than 80 years in Northern America. The trophy is based on one of America’s first three-dimensional point of purchase displays. The cigar store Indian was widely used over the previous centuries by shops to catch the eye of passersby and alert them that tobacco products were available for purchase instore.

Barber Shop pole signage
Medical Cross sign at pharmacy shop

Using the cigar store Indians to promote tobacco use as recreational rather than its ceremonial purpose is just one reason why some feel that the symbol is inappropriate.

Whilst recognising the history and fondness many hold for the cigar store Indian trophy, in 2020 Shop! ANZ, independent of the global association, concluded it was time to find the new symbol of Shop!’s mark of excellence!

Initial brief to create the new mark of excellence

2020 was our chance for Shop! ANZ to look forward! The cigar store Indian was reflective which was not a bad thing entirely but given the way our moral compass has changed around social matters, it was time to look beyond the past.

Below are some of the critical elements in the original brief on 7 July, 2020.

Design thoughts

  • Similar size, weight, and format to current trophy
  • Gold, Silver and Bronze to remain
  • Unique design. Iconic and contemporary
  • Integrate winner’s plate into the overall aesthetic and function
  • Needs to be futureproofed regarding the awards year

Brand strategy thoughts

  • Represent all awards categories. i.e., physical / nonphysical
  • Reflect top line meaning to replace cigar store Indian
  • The cigar store Indian represented “pioneer”; the first. In the forefront
  • Needs to reflect “The Best”
  • Premium, exclusive and signify admiration
  • Needed a moniker e.g., the “Indian”, “the Oscars” etc…

The new trophy will be revealed on Thursday 25th March at the Shop! Retail Marketing Awards. We are looking forward to sharing the new trophy that embraces the evolution of Shop! Retail Marketing Association.

Contact for more information.

Not booked your spot at the Awards yet? Join us for the 2020 Awards Gala Dinner!

The Shop! ANZ Retail Marketing Awards Gala Dinner is THE industry event of the year, recognising those who have demonstrated creativity, innovation and inspiration across 26 Awards categories, culminating in the highly anticipated Pinnacle Awards showcasing the retail marketing industry’s best of the best.

DATE: 6:30pm Thursday 25 March 2021

VENUE: Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont, NSW