George Zimmer opened his first Men's Wearhouse store in 1973 right here in Houston. On Wednesday, the company he built from that first store into the largest men's suit retailer in the country fired him. The rift, according to reports, may have been over Zimmer's decreasing role in the company and his unwillingness to let go of the reins. Men's Wearhouse has been angling to build an audience with younger clientele, something they clearly didn't think the now gray-haired Zimmer could do despite huge profits in the first quarter of 2013.
In the past few years, Zimmer approved a new president and CEO and the company brought in Joseph Abboud (he of the "fine hand ticking" in Seinfeld episode "The Wig Master") as creative director. More recently, Zimmer and his famous "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it" tagline were absent from new company commercials.
For his part, Zimmer is not going quietly. He released a statement that reads in part:
Over the last 40 years, I have built The Men's Wearhouse into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at The Men's Wearhouse," Zimmer said in a statement. "Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading. Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has, in part, contributed to our success, the Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns by terminating me as an executive officer.
It's hard to imagine Men's Wearhouse ads without Zimmer. I remember watching a ton of them during sitcom reruns in the '80s and on late-night TV in the '90s. Some of his more recent commercials allude to younger people wearing suits, but he still sounds like the guy who advocated for mock turtlenecks. Fashions may change, but cool catchphrases never go out of style.
So, in honor of George Zimmer, hit the next page for some classic Men's Wearhouse ads. We're going to miss the way you talk, George. I guarantee it.
Tell them about that hipper mock turtleneck and band collar shirt, George!
Yeah, you gotta wear pants.
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Bully for wool.