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September 10, 2008

Wrap Yourself in the Flag

FirstinfantryThe US Army, the First Infantry Division to be precise, has licensed its insignias for the first time, allowing them to appear on a new sort of runway. Thanks to a licensing deal with Sears, the division's "big red one" logo debuted on a line of military-inspired apparel at New York's Fashion Week, and will appear in stores in October. A US Army spokesperson, quoted in AdAge, speaks like a true branding professional: "By incorporating the Army's timeless traditions with iconic styling and unparalleled standards for performance, fit and function, consumers can wear the pride they feel for our troops." Response from veterans' groups was not slow in coming. CBS ran a story on Vietnam vets who felt the extension was decidedly off-brand. "That's a dishonor to do that," said one of them. "The Army has no right to make extra money with Sears."

Meanwhile, the branding pundits wasted no time in joining the fray around the US presidential election. John Quelch, a professor at Harvard Business School, called Sarah Palin "a very good brand extension, one that complements the core propositions of the master brand while extending it to a new audience." Meanwhile, he calls Biden "a defensive line extension." Read more here. Anyone with other thoughts on the brands running in this election?

And if you're still not sure which horse to back this election, you could do a lot worse than Hermes' new $490 plush horse toy. More here.

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About This Blog

Brand extensions are all around us — clothing from the Sierra Club, furniture polish from Steinway and, yes, even the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. TippingSprung, a New York-based brand-extension consultancy, publishes an annual survey on brand extensions with Brandweek. If you spot a noteworthy extension for the blog or survey, email us.

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