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Branding Iron: Eugen Sandow’s “Modern” Marketing Strategies, 1887–1925


Eugen Sandow was a professional strongman who started his theatrical career in 1887. Upon his retirement in 1903, the Sandow name was known internationally as a synonym for strength, health, and bodily perfection. Sandow used this popularity to market a number of different products including books, a magazine, health clubs, exercise equipment, and miscellaneous health products. Although literature on Sandow documents his cultural influences and continues to grow, none specifically or comprehensively address the business and marketing aspects of his career. This paper attempts to fill that void. It argues that Sandow utilized a three-pronged strategy in order to establish his personal brand. Furthermore, it examines the way Sandow leveraged his brand in order to market his name and other products worldwide. Finally, the paper is a starting point for others to examine ways other popular physical culturists like Bob Hoffman, the Weiders, and Arnold Schwarzenegger marketed their brands.

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