Mad Cavemen

The following is a story of failure and eventual triumph brought to you through Image Branding; a practice that business owners and professionals need, but few invest in. The term 'image branding' is fairly modern, but the idea of a branded image has been around for ages. As much an achievement as inventing the wheel was, soon enough emerging markets of wheel carving cavemen rose up. Some were better than others. But as long as it was round and rolled, these things sold like hot giraffe liver cakes. So how could a single caveman distinguish his products, services and general salescavemanship from the rest?

One day a caveman named Tuk-Tuk stumbled upon and called to confess his wheel carving woes. While most wheels were mass produced, Tuk-Tuk hand carved each of his wheels as his father, who invented the wheel, taught him to. Due to the long hours needed to produce each wheel, his prices were higher than those at the big name wheel outlets. Tuk-Tuk didn't have the best location either. While most competitor's stores were on level ground, his store was located at the bottom of the deepest valley. To return home, Tuk-Tuk's customers had to push their wheels uphill and through rocky terrain. As wheels became abundant, used wheel lots began to arise, undercutting Tuk-Tuk's margins even more. If Tuk-Tuk didn't turn things around soon, he would be forced to give up his family business. Knowing there is a consumer out there for any quality product, we immediately developed an image brand for Tuk-Tuk's unique business goals.

First off, we created a custom logo for Tuk-Tuk. To describe the visuals, it was a big circle with a smaller circle inside of it. Fairly basic, yet progressive considering the time was prehistoric. This logo was stamped on every wheel he produced, etched into the rock outside his cave and carved into the trees leading customers down the valley to his store. The next step was to focus on his marketing. In order to appeal to the modern cavefamily, Tuk-Tuk Wheels became Wheels by Tuk-Tuk & Sons. Custom, hand made wheels aren't cheap to produce and were too expensive for the adolescent market. To capitalize on this we advertised his wheels as a 'Luxury for the Caveman; not a Toy for Caveboys.' The hike to and from his store was grueling; almost too much for most cavemen. We used this to our advantage and spread word that Wheels by Tuk-Tuk & Sons were suitable only for the cavemanliest of cavemen. Soon, it became enticing to be seen with your custom Wheels by Tuk-Tuk & Sons. While his competitor's wheels were rolled inside for the night, to have your Tuk-Tuk & Sons wheel proudly displayed outside your cave was a sign of class, strength and appreciation for precise engineering. This was now Tuk-Tuk's newly branded image. While he once sold a common wheel to the common caveman with common caveman dreams, Tuk-Tuk now offers an elite caveman lifestyle achieved through hard work, determination and family values.

Now let's look back and see what business practices Tuk-Tuk had to change. His prices remained the same and, though inconvenient, he kept his store location. What Tuk-Tuk did was invest in the image branding services offered by Rusty Dog Studio. We examined his advertising practices, turned weaknesses into strengths and carried through with targeted marketing campaigns and creative design concepts.

Though Tuk-Tuk was now successful, his image still needed continuing support in order to maintain relevance. To keep the Tuk-Tuk brand strong, we challenged fans to post videos of themselves on social media sites, rolling their wheels up hills and through rough terrain. Giveaways were awarded to those using #TukTuk4Life and Tuk-Tuk posted daily tips on proper wheel care. Logo'd apparel for the hunter in all of us was sold on and Wheels by Tuk-Tuk & Sons became so prosperous that we shot a commercial with The Matthew McConaughey uttering some bullshit which had nothing to do with wheels. With Rusty Dog Studio, the advertising possibilities are endless!

The moral of our story is that the products and services Tuk-Tuk offered, while top-notch, were unknown to his target market. His fellow cavemen needed a compelling reason to choose Tuk-Tuk over the competition. With his newly branded image and accompanying advertisements, Tuk-Tuk was able to deliver that desired reason and reach his caveman demographic.

The End

If you are a business owner or professional, like Tuk-Tuk, and feel that the branded image of your products and services needs a fresh perspective, give us a call at 412-874-1039 or email

Luke Hillegas

Owner, Rusty Dog Studio