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Harbor Freight ads are very visible these days, and they’re changing.
It used to be that everything Harbor Freight put out would scream “hey, look at our super cheap stuff!!” There are still plenty of “save money on…” types of ads, and coupon offers, but then there are the ads that do not fit Harbor Freight’s more traditional focus.
With this new Harbor Freight ad that I came across in a news feed, here’s the primary message: Shine Like new Again, Your Auto Detailing Destination.
That’s different – right?
Sure, there are “compare to” examples of lower pricing, but read the secondary copy:
Shine your car or truck like new again | Restore that new car glow with our wide selection of auto detailing tools & supplies.
This is an angle either I haven’t seen them focus on before, or maybe I saw something similar and it was outshined by Harbor Freight’s typical “ridiculously low-price” sales pitches.
This… divergence or evolution – or marketing experiment? – seems to be progressing.
In March, I posted about what looked to be a marketing shift for Harbor Freight, where their focus wasn’t on low pricing, but on their tools as a solution.
I also spotted an automotive creeper ad, and it too was different than what I would have expected from Harbor Freight.
Even looking at the newsletters in my inbox, there’s a notable shift in their marketing strategy. There are still “instant savings” and “free gift” newsletter headings, but also ones that frame Harbor Freight as your floor jack headquarters.
I can’t be the only one noticing this, right?
Some of their tools? Oh yeah, they’re still junky, but Harbor Freight is also doing things like expanding their Hercules line of cordless power tools with brushless options. There’s also their Icon line of “tool truck quality” hand tools and storage options.
They have also added more name-brand tools to their catalog:
Harbor Freight also recently added Gorilla Tape products on their website.
Last year I wrote a post – Do Not Underestimate Harbor Freight Tools. At the time, I had become aware that Harbor Freight has grown to be a lot more popular than I had realized.
Objectively, they are also quite large. Harbor Freight now has more than 1100 stores whereas about a year ago, they were at “1000+” stores.
They have the potential to shake up the industry. But is that what they’re trying to do?
Part of me wonders if I’m finding changes because that is I want to see.
Is Harbor Freight chipping away at their former reputation as a “cheap tools, cheap quality” destination? Is that what they’re trying to do here?
Harbor Freight’s current logo/tagline reads: Quality Tools Lowest Prices. Are they working towards Quality Tools [at] All Prices?
Is your perception of Harbor Freight Tools any different today than it was 5 or 10 years ago?