How many sounds are so universal you can identify them in one listen? Zippo’s signature click can’t be imitated.
Having appealed to man’s Promethean attraction to fire since 1932, Zippo is a brand deeply ingrained in the last century of culture, a cornerstone visual accessory for the worlds of fashion, music and more. Created as an antidote to the cumbersome two-hand-light lighters popular at the time, Zippo’s dedication to ease and finesse has endured, positioning it as a necessity for soldiers and rock-stars alike. What else can you say that about? Having produced millions of lighters for the American military during WWII, Zippo soon became ingrained in the American psyche, with people both in the States and beyond eager to get their hands on the remarkably unchanged product that gained so much traction and visibility during the war. In the post-war years, the Zippo flitted between culture and counter-culture, seen in the pockets of soldiers and hippies alike, and appearing in countless films, passed around characters from beatniks to businessmen.
Zippo’s influence in the world of music also grew steadily until its culmination in what has since been dubbed the “Zippo Moment” – the spine-tinglingly momentous signal when concert-goers raise their flames in unison as a salute to their godlike musical icons. Such vigil-like displays of adulation were commonplace in the presence of stadium sell-out rock bands when the action first came to be, now they’re an expected exercise of any adoring crowd, across any genre. Irreversibly linked to pop-culture, recent years have seen Zippo win firm fans in fashion lovers, collaborating on designs with hype-winning brands, including Supreme, Bape, Stüssy and Kith, as well as allowing their customers to design their own versions of the iconic lighter online.
Staying true to its devotion to popular culture, Zippo has infiltrated the global phenomenon of ASMR (that’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response if you’ve not been on the internet in the last six months). The satisfaction of the sound created when flicking a Zippo lid open and shut is one of the most memorable aspects of the lighter. The sound is so ingrained in our senses that in a survey of 1000 adults, 70% said that familiar sounds such as the “Zippo Click” instigated positive emotional responses within them. Having trademarked the click, the company has curated its very own ASMR collection of lighters, evolving in the present, just as it has for the last 86 years.
Taken from the Winter 18/19 issue of Wonderland. Pre-order your copy here.