new product ideas

June 17, 2009

Popup Extensions: Angels and Demons

Popupstores Two leading brands have chosen the popup-store concept to extend themselves, with decidedly different flavors. Axe is taking over a Hamptons, NY nightclub; its brand will be splashed liberally over the premises, with Axe products on sale in the restrooms. The extension is nothing if not logical. Michael Heller, a marketer quoted in the New York Times, observed, “Axe is all about the mating game, and the best place for a mating game is at a nightclub.” According to the Times, Axe is paying a promotion fee and is not participating in the revenues from the club. More here.

Those looking for a more, um, wholesome brand extension need look no further than Martha Stewart’s Popup Wedding Chapel. The last week of June, brides in New York City can get hitched cost-effectively at a Martha-Stewart-branded venue. “For $500, couples will get a gorgeous chapel and ceremony with champagne toast,” says the promotion. More here.

May 18, 2009

LoJack Now Finds Missing People

Lojack The company whose name became a byword in locating stolen vehicles is now extending into finding people. This February LoJack launched SafetyNet, a service for “tracking and rescuing people at risk of wandering,” including those with Alzheimer’s and autism.

“This offering is a natural extension of LoJack’s family of products and services and takes our solutions beyond ‘getting the bad guys’ off the streets to now protecting those afflicted with cognitive disorders by helping return them safely to their loved ones and caregivers,” said Ronald Walters, LoJack’s CEO.

LoJack SafetyNet consists of a “personal locator beacon” worn by the client, a search-and-rescue receiver for law enforcement, a database about the clients to assist in search and rescue, 24x7 emergency caregiver support and training for law-enforcement and public-safety agencies. LoJack plans to roll out the solution to 200 agencies over the next 12 months. Read more here.

Is this a logical extension for LoJack, or an extension where the brand has little to add? Your thoughts?

April 10, 2009

Photo Finish

Polaroid Will another of America’s iconic brands bite the dust, or live on through the miracles of brand extension?

Polaroid, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2001, has enjoyed a second lease on life through a variety of licensing deals, including Polaroid-branded digital cameras, flat-panel televisions, and DVD players.

Petters Group acquired the brand in 2005 for some $450 million. But another Chapter 11 followed in late 2008, amid accusations that CEO Tom Petters was running a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The outcome of an auction currently underway for the Polaroid brand is as yet uncertain. This week, a federal bankruptcy judge threw out a bid for $56.3 million from a joint venture of liquidation specialists Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands. The other suitor is New York-based Patriarch Partners, which owns a stake in Arizona Iced Tea and in Rand McNally.

January 16, 2009

CES Spotting: Lego camera and Swiss Army laser pointer

Lego-digital-camera Some interesting brand extensions to report from the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, where we saw an unlikely entry into the crowded digital-camera category. Lego announced it will launch a line of branded tech products this summer, including digital cameras, video cameras, and MP3 players. The new line will let fans "express themselves through photos, videos and music, while displaying their enthusiasm for one of the world's all-time favorite toys," says Jill Wilfert, VP licensing for Lego Group.

CandyEarphones And if you’re looking for headphones for your Lego MP3 player, you may want to try Candeez earphones which, for $4, will allow you to walk around looking like you have a pair of Tootsie Rolls or Jolly Ranchers in your ears. 
 
Swissarmy Finally, from the literal cutting edge of technology comes the Victorinox Presentation Pro, a Swiss Army Knife that comes with built-in USB thumb-drive, laser pointer, biometric fingerprint scanner, and Bluetooth remote that connects to your laptop so you can change slides in your presentation.

Your thoughts on these new extensions, or any others we may have missed at CES?

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.

July 10, 2008

Do Androids Dream on Ikea Beds?

SimsFor those like us who have enough trouble functioning in the real world, the thought of supporting a virtual existence seems quite daunting. Especially now that you may end up paying to furnish and accessorize that virtual lifestyle.

Real brands have been encroaching on the virtual world for some time now. A year ago, Starwood Hotels claimed to be the "first company in history to open a new hotel brand inside of a virtual world." They launched the hip Aloft brand in Second Life, as a promotional vehicle before opening its doors in the real world in 2008.

In a new twist on art imitating life, users of the Sims virtual-world software can accessorize with real-world brands, including H&M and, most recently, Ikea.

For a mere $19.99, you can "turn your Sims' living room into a haven of comfort and relaxation with a plush Ektorp sofa, a unique Expedit TV unit, a complementing Leksvik coffee table, and chic décor, like the Vanna mirror." (Read more here.)

Excuse our obtuseness, but we thought people created virtual worlds to escape the constraints of the real one. Do people need the reassurance of Ikea and H&M in their Doppelgänger existence? And do they really need to pay for the privilege?

April 29, 2008

Brand Training, Direct-to-Consumer

Sephora_2McDonalds has a university — Hamburger U — to train its managers and employees. The Ritz Carlton has a leadership-training center to coach other people's managers and employees.

But what happens when you take your corporate know-how and extend it directly to consumers? That's what BMW is doing with its Performance Driving School, where professional BMW instructors will teach you how to drive safely and "maximize exhilaration behind the wheel." And Sephora, the cosmetics superstore, recently opened Sephora University, where consumers can learn beauty tips and techniques from the pros. As consultants, we hear a lot about the value of knowledge capital, and the importance of transferring that knowledge to the next generation of managers. But as BMW and Sephora are realizing, there's great value in transferring your knowledge directly to consumers, and delivering them a truly immersive way to interact with your brand.

Read the full Brandweek editorial 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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