Zippo Wallet Protects Against Zip

The company's new wallet has been designed to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
Published: December 12, 2012

It’s a trend among companies with a well-known brand to expand into other areas and take advantage of the luster that brand provides. For example, Porsche, the performance carmaker, has put its brand on luggage, wallets, sunglasses and other products. So it’s no surprise that the makers of the famous Zippo lighter would try to expand its brand—especially with fewer people smoking nowadays. Zippo now sells watches, pens, and even perfume and cologne.

First, if you don’t know about the Zippo lighter, let me offer a little background. The Zippo was, in the 1940s and ’50s, a symbol of cool. There’s a famous scene in the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity in which Donna Reed produced a Zippo and lit the handsome Montgomery Clift’s cigarette. And in 1945’s Objective, Burma!, Errol Flynn flashed his Zippo in his portrayal of Captain Nelson.

Zippo is an iconic American brand, but its latest product is a bit unusual. The company has produced a new wallet for men (see Mens Wallet). It’s made of stainless steel, like the lighter, but it’s being advertised as protecting “against RF theft.”

Now, I know what you are probably thinking: “People are stealing radio frequency?” No, no. The copy says, “Zippo’s stainless steel wallet is a great gift that offers practical protection against stolen credit card numbers.”

The only problem is that there are no reported cases to date of credit-card numbers being stolen via surreptitious scanning. What’s more, you could protect yourself from a potential theft of your credit card via RF simply by wrapping your RFID-enabled credit card in aluminum foil, which would cost only a few cents, rather than investing $49.95 for the Zippo wallet. I’m no expert on what’s cool, but my guess is that we are not going to be seeing any upcoming movies in which Hugh Jackman whips out his Zippo wallet and warns the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, “It’s a dangerous world out there, babe. Put your plastic in this.”

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.