As smoking declines in the United States and is increasingly under fire with new legislation and social stigma, Zippo, a long respected name in quality lighters is looking to other products to brand their name. Recently the brand has marketed a brand of men’s watches, but intends a line of other high quality products such as outdoor clothing, backpacks and other tough long lasting goods.

Will it work? Some products with famous names like Harley Davidson on them were huge failures in the marketplace and sold poorly. Bic pens even once tried to market a line of underwear. And Colgate even tried some food entries that were marketplace flops as well. Not every attempt to diversify pays rewards. Some just sap off company revenues and really hurt a company.

A famous name doesn’t always help to sell products. Mario Andretti had an unhappy relationship with an American motorscooter distributor of Benelli products. In the last couple of years, Mario Andretti and PowerSportsFactory parted ways in an unhappy way with Andretti suing the company which slipped into financial problems and eventual bankruptcy. (BTW-The American distribution of Benelli motor scooters doesn’t impact the Benelli motorcycles which are produced and marketed separately from the scooter brand). However, it is a blow to this famous brand name to see that neither the name of Mario Andretti or Benelli was good enough to market a high priced line of motor scooters in the states.

Zippo might well tread carefully here, if the history of failed products with famous names is any clue to use some caution.