Private label guru Watt passes away

January 4, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Don Watt passed away suddenly, at the age of 73, just before Christmas – and the holiday break meant news of his death is just starting to really circulate.

Watt was one of the best known retail strategists around, recognized in particular for developing and mastering the art of private label brands for retailers.

He created the No Name and President’s Choice product programs for Canadian grocer giant Loblaws, designed the long-time Wal-Mart brand and the Super Center retail model, as well as their Sam’s Choice, Great Value and Equate retail brands.He also created the Home Depot brand and prototype store concept.

I did not know his design was chosen as the basis of the Canadian Flag, according to the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends, and that he also contributed to the design of the Canadian Pavilion at Montreal’s Expo 67.

I mention this because he is pretty well known in Canadian and US retail design and strategy circles, but also because he was one of the very first guys to try using video in retail, dropping a TV set and VCR with focused promo videos in the middle of Loblaw’s stores in Canada. The sales lift numbers, he told me and my old EnQii boss Stu Armstrong when we met with Watt 2-3 years ago, were phenomenal.

This was years before the digital part of digital signage was really possible in retail, but smart guys like Watt saw it coming. Smart, talented man. 

More about him here


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