When I imagine a Parrott Head, or Jimmy Buffett fan, I see a Hawaiian themed shirt, white sandy beaches, a margarita, and a lot of people coming together to have a good time. Jimmy Buffett has made a name for himself, otherwise known as his brand. This brand is maintained only by those who follow him and purchase his music, eat at his restaurants, purchase his products, and visit his vacation destinations and casinos. These fans, or Parrot Heads, are not only supporting his brand, they are also participating in various charities and clubs around the world.
What is a Parrot Head?
Parrot heads are not just fans of Jimmy Buffet’s music, they are people who are involved in the communities which they reside. Although Parrot Heads are known for their enjoyment of Jimmy Buffett music and cold alcoholic beverages, they are also known for their charity work. The national vice president of Parrot Heads in Paradise Inc., Andy Harrell, was quoted in the article Parrotheads in Paradise: A Social Club With a Charity Habit explaining what it is to be a Parrot Head: "It's a love of the music and the lifestyle. People know they're going to be with likeminded folks who are looking to have a good time and all the while leave the world a little better place than they found it" (Rettig, 2013).
Are Parrot Heads a reference group? Yes; a reference group is a group of people who can influence others. Since 2002, members various Parrot Head clubs around the world have volunteered more than 3.1 million hours (Parrot Heads in Paradise Inc., 2014). These groups, who report to Parrot Heads in Paradise Inc. (PHIP), report an increase in charitable contributions and volunteer hours. According to the PHIP, charitable contributions have increased from $1.4 million dollars in 2002, to $3.5 million dollars in 2012. The popularity of Parrot Head clubs is not likely because more fans are suddenly enjoying Jimmy Buffett music; they are likely to be influenced by current Parrot Head club members who are recruiting other individuals within the brand community.
The Parrot Head Brand Community
Parrot Heads are a certain “type” of people, as described by Andy Herrell, as a “social club with a charity habit” (Rettig, 2013). A love for music, specifically Jimmy Buffett tunes, and charitable contributions have brought these individuals together, forming a brand community. Solomon (2012) defines a brand community as “a group of consumers who share a set of social relationships based on usage of or interest in a product.”
Fans of Jimmy Buffett already existed and attended concerts, some even tailgating before the show, but Scott Nickerson, wanted to reunite with fellow fans more frequently than at the annual concert in Atlanta, Georgia. He started a local Parrot Head club for individuals who enjoyed Jimmy Buffett music, but it was not only about the music. Nickerson was inspired by Jimmy Buffet’s charitable work. The start of the first Parrot Head club was also the...