Get All Access for $5/mo

Paul Newman Leaves Entrepreneurial Legacy

By Dennis Romero

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Paul Newman died over the weekend, he left behind not only a canon of postwar films unparalleled in Hollywood--Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidyand the Sundance Kid, The Color of Money--but he alsobequeathed the legacy of one of the most successful marriages of starpower and consumer-product branding ever to hit supermarket shelves.

The ace actor and expert race car driver cofounded the Newman's Own brandof salad dressing in 1982 with friend and author A.E. Hotchner. Theidea was to use Newman's name and image to sell food products thatwould benefit charity. The brand's lineup--each product uses anartist's sketch of the late thespian--has since expanded to includespaghetti sauce, lemonade, wine and other products. The company claimsto have donated all profits, nearly $250 million since its inception,to nonprofit organizations. One of the beneficiaries has been the Holein the Wall Camps--summer getaways for children with serious illnesses. While many entrepreneurs probably think they could benefit from having a Hollywood legend endorse their products and services--with change to spare for charity--experts argue that Newman's Own has more than big-screen pedigree going for it. "Paul Newman changed the mode of a celebrity getting into the food business," says John L. Stanton, food marketing professor at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "If consumers didn't believe profits were going to charity, if they didn't think the product tasted good or wasn't good for them, they wouldn't buy it."

He notes that many celebrity-endorsed food ventures, from Planet Hollywood restaurants to the supermodel-endorsed Fashion Café chain, have failed to launch. A celebrity's good name, he says, only guarantees entrée to free press and initial consumer interest: The brands must bring consumers a quality experience in order to see them return again and again. For that reason, Newman's Own will likely live on. "As long as they mange the legacy and live up to the promises to charity Paul Newman made," the professor says, "it can go on for a long time."

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Branding

ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.