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January 27, 2009

Would You Buy a Watch From This Man?

Yalem A high-tech Swiss chronometer has just been launched – dubbed the "Aviator," it will cost from between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on whether you get the stainless steel or gold version. No ordinary timepiece, the Aviator is specifically meant for pilots, with features that assist in the case of instrumentation failure (it claims to be the first watch that calculates true airspeed, apparently something useful to know).

Why the inclusion in this blog, you ask? The chronometer’s inventor and marketer is the half brother of Osama bin Laden, a name best kept far from the cockpit and associated goods and services. Interviewed by Reuters, Yeslam Bin Ladin downplayed possible linkage between his lineage and market suitability: "I think that over time people have realized that these two things are completely unrelated. It has been many years (that) I have had nothing to do with it and I continue to carry on my life as normal." He is already in the business of selling perfume and handbags under the Yeslam label from his upscale store in Geneva, Switzerland. More here.

In a (very) separate development, the Vatican announced its launch of a new YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/vatican. Pope Benedict XVI, in his weekly blessing, said the use of new technologies could aid in the search for "the true, the good, and the beautiful." This extension of the Vatican brand ranks as downright mainstream compared with some of the Vatican Library's prior licensing efforts, which include collectibles, giftware, apparel, funeral urns, and jewelry (for previous coverage in this blog, click here).


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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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