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February 26, 2009

The Last Laugh

Bk_snacks Brand marketers, in their ivory towers, may get a chuckle out of seemingly eyebrow-raising brand extensions. But the brand owners may be getting the last laugh, all the way to the bank.

Case in point: Burger King apparel (such as BK boxer shorts), which was singled out in TippingSprung’s 2008 Brand Extension Survey as a questionable fit.

The folks at Broad Street Licensing Group who have been spearheading an extension program for Burger King naturally have a different take on the situation. First, Burger King apparel is just one piece in a larger program, which includes some innovative extensions like BK-branded salty snacks (which won an award for best brand extension in License! magazine), barbecue sauce, and frozen appetizers.

Bill Cross, VP of food licensing at Broad Street, thinks that non-food extensions like Burger King boxer shorts get a bad rap for no good reason: brand owners are often overly concerned about issues ranging from product liability and dilution of brand equity to cannibalization (forgive the metaphor) of core products. In reality, he says, many of these products are simply “fun” and have little risk of impacting brand equity. These non-food applications are often “of the moment” – a moment which, quite often, is a very profitable one.

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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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