August 18, 2009

Travel Extensions, Upmarket and Down

Mobiltravel The Mobil Travel Guide will be rebranded with the Forbes name, effective October 1, the Associated Press reports. Started in 1958, the Mobil series includes 45 books.  The move will certainly add more luxe to a respected name in travel. More here.

Those looking for a more down-to-earth vacation might consider a Samuel Adams Hopfenpflücken Adventure. “This once-in-a-lifetime trip will have you joining Boston Beer Company brewers and execs on a trip to Bavaria, Germany — the birthplace of beer,” says the promotional copy from travel agents at Abercrombie & Kent. What might appear to be a glorified keg run will set you back $2,980.00 (the morning of day 8 is your last chance for a “final beer before your flight home”). More here.

February 05, 2009

Back to School for Celebs

Bhhs It's unlikely that your local high school will make millions of dollars in licensing revenue this year. Unless, of course, your local high school is in the 90210 zip code. Beverly Hills High School is reportedly looking at a deal to license the school's brand on apparel, cosmetics, and accessories.

The licensing deal could bring the school district $500,000 a year in royalties, and perhaps much more if famous alumni including Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Cage, and Richard Dreyfuss get involved.

But the news from Hollywood is not all good. In an article this week, AdAge proclaims, "Bad news celebs: the era of simply slapping your name on your own fashion brand and waiting for royalties to roll in is over." They go on to report that the collapse of retailers such as Goody's and Steve & Barry's has also led to the demise of celebrity apparel brands from Ashley Judd, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes and Venus Williams. More here.

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, 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).

December 28, 2008

The Results Are In...

2008survey What do Burger King underwear, Kellogg's hip-hop street wear and Allstate Green insurance have in common? They all were voted among the worst brand extensions of 2008. Earlier this month, TippingSprung polled 689 Brandweek readers and other marketing professionals, online, about this year's flurry of brand extensions. Among others voted thumbs-down: Coca-Cola's RPet clothing at Wal-Mart, Playboy energy drink and Disney Sleeping Beauty executive fountain pens priced at up to $1,200, particularly ill-timed in this economy.

Accentuating the positive, Campbell's V8 Soup was selected the top beverage extension. Nearly 77 percent of marketers said it was a good idea. Coppertone sunglasses and Mr. Clean performance car washes were named the best brand extensions, according to 31.2 percent and 25.7 percent of respondents, respectively.

For Ken Hein’s full coverage in Brandweek, click here. To receive a full survey report (available in the first half of January 2009), email us.

This is TippingSprung's fifth annual brand-extension survey conducted with Brandweek. Past winners include Iams pet health insurance and Huggies Little Swimmers sunscreen; past losers include Precious Moments coffins, Hooters airlines, Cheetos lip balm and Salvador Dalí deodorant (yes, these are/were all real products). Feel free to write us for past results as well.

November 12, 2008

A Little Bit of Luxe

SmartcarThose hooked on luxury brands who wish to make a gesture of frugality in a down economy have had their prayers answered. Hermès just unveiled its version of the Smart car, complete with leather accents and available in colors that include fuchsia and lime. The cars start at 38,000 euros (almost $50,000). More here.

Those with less pocket change who still wish to splurge on luxury brand extensions this holiday season have a few options. Famed Paris baker Lenôtre is offering bûches de Noël, traditional Christmas cakes, designed by Hubert de Givenchy. Last year’s was from Karl Lagerfeld.

A more playful option comes from Porsche, which has licensed its name for videogame steering wheels -– prices range from $150 to $400 for the Clubsport model. More here.

November 06, 2008

Swimming Upstream

HellokittyWith Walmart one of the few retailers expected to thrive this holiday season, two brands have chosen this unlikely time to move upmarket.

CVS just announced the opening of Beauty 360, a tony cosmetics store to be launched initially in Washington, DC and Mission Viejo, California. Executives put a rosy face on the move, despite the economy. "It may not be a vacation, or it might not be the new dress, but you know what, the $15 lipstick might not have the same pinch to her that the rest of those higher priced ones do," Reuters quotes CVS executive Mike Bloom. More here.

Meanwhile, Hello Kitty’s parent announced the arrival of upscale Sanrio Luxe in Times Square this November. The move is meant to extend Hello Kitty among girls who grew up with the brand and now want it to accompany them into womanhood. Whether they'll drop $30,000 on a Hello Kitty diamond pendant remains to be seen.

The shop is modeled after a "modern-day nursery storybook with a romantic feeling," Women’s Wear Daily reports. Most items are exclusive to the store, the newspaper reports. The outlet will not limit itself to couture –- it is slated to feature limited-edition Hello Kitty Fender guitars in time for the holidays. More here.

October 09, 2008

For Richer, For Poorer

Ritz_reserveWhile Wall Street has been building castles in the air, a few luxury hotel chains have chosen Dubai and Thailand for their latest brand extensions. Ferragamo has announced plans to design apartment interiors in the "Pentominium Tower," in partnership with developer Trident International Holdings. The project is currently slated for completion in 2012, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton has announced the launch of Reserve, "an exclusive, ultra-luxury group of remote resorts that will emphasize the local environment while offering unparalleled levels of comfort." The first Reserve property will open in Thailand in early 2009, featuring a mere 54 villas on 20 acres--just in time for the next AIG executive retreat. More here.

Those who consider such über-luxe hotels as so many towers of Babel can take comfort at the other end of the brand-extension spectrum. Real Simple magazine has just announced the launch of a TV show, "Real Simple. Real Life." Appearing on the The Learning Channel, the program leverages the makeover theme, staying true to the brand’s promise of "helping everyday people find solutions to make life easier." Can’t imagine a better tagline for the current bailout package. More here.

October 01, 2008

Fancy Footwork

Hennessy_sneakersFurther cementing the ties between the worlds of luxury spirits and hip-hop, Hennessy has announced a limited-edition sneaker branded after the cognac. Designed by Jhung Yuro, the Hennessy Celebration Hi-Top is slated for release December 1, retailing for $300. Each pair, the Luxist blog reports, comes in a lizard-skin-embossed box. More here.

Meanwhile, David Beckham is expanding his empire with a series of children’s books. Based on his successful David Beckham Academy which provides soccer training in Europe and the US, the stories are targeted at seven-year-olds and are meant to "bring children to reading through football." The first book is due out in June 2009. More here.

September 18, 2008

Gentlemen, You May Start Your Ovens

Porschedesign_2A kitchen designed by Porsche with slick aluminum and driftwood finishes is in production. For $200, you can throw in a pair of Peugeot-branded salt and pepper mills. These brand extensions are targeted at a new male demographic – the gastrosexual. You’ll find the term in a recent study commissioned by food company PurAsia and authored by experts including Dr. Paul Levy (who purportedly coined the term "foodie").

According to the study, men are spending more time in the kitchen, which they increasingly view as their turf (53% of men reported cooking with separate ingredients nearly every day, and the amount of time men have spent at the stove has risen five-fold since 1961).

Men's interest in the kitchen is rapidly creating brand-extension opportunities. German luxury-kitchen maker Poggenpohl recently unveiled its P7340, a "new kitchen especially designed for men" in partnership with luxury men's accessory brand Porsche Design. Chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, credited in the PurAsia report as helping drive the rise of the gastrosexual, each have cooking-themed videogames in the works.

For the complete editorial in Brandweek, click here. To download a PDF version of the PurAsia report, right-click here.

August 26, 2008

Match of the Penguins

PenguindatingLooking for love? Try Penguin Dating, the new online dating service just launched by Penguin Books and According to the revered British publisher’s blog, Penguin Dating helps singles strike a connection, "based not just on idle frippery like hair color and star sign, but on truly important stuff like what books they like." In other words, you can judge a person by the cover of the book they’re reading. View the site here.

It’s too soon to judge whether Penguin Dating will become a timeless classic or a throw-away summer fling. But if the results of a recent survey are anything to go by, it looks as if Penguin and are onto a good thing. In an online survey of 2,000 adults carried out by Borders bookstore, 50% of respondents said that they would look again or smile at someone on the basis of what they were reading. And a third of those surveyed said that they "would consider flirting with someone based on their choice of literature."

Those seeking to market themselves to bibliophiles across the Atlantic may be well advised first to read They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books (one actual ad reads "short, bald, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite"). Read a review here.

If you fall for a fan of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond and one of Penguin’s top authors, you may want to consider the following gift for your new love. Available in December, just in time for the holidays, the Jaeger LeCoultre AMVOX2 DBS Transponder is a Swiss timepiece (price tag just over $40,000) that can lock and unlock the Aston Martin DBS ($260,000) from a distance of 10-meters. Start saving your Moneypennies now. More here.

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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