Country Time Cider
Country Time Lemonade Drink was launched in 1976 by Kraft foods as a powder mix, and soon became the top-selling lemonade product sold through
Ben-Gay is another well-known
Capital Radio restaurants
In November 1996,
Smith and Wesson mountain bikes
Yes, that’s right. Cosmopolitan – the world’s biggest selling women’s magazine – launched its own brand of yoghurt. However, although this extension failed (the yoghurts were off the shelves within 18 months), Cosmopolitan has had success with other crossovers. For instance, Cosmopolitan is now the
Namely, sex. There are also plans for Cosmopolitan cafés, which may also fit within Cosmopolitan’s ‘sex and the city’ identity. ‘I’m not surprised Cosmo yoghurts failed,’ says Jane Wentworth, a senior consultant with the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. ‘Any brand extension has to be credible for the mother brand. Companies use brand extensions to reach new audiences and to make the most of their promotional spend – but the important thing is not to tarnish the original brand.’
Lever Fabergé, the Unilever division that owns the Lynx brand of male deodorant, opened its first Lynx hairdressing salon in 2000. ‘Time and time again, when you ask young chaps in research about Lynx it is the personality of the brand rather than the fact that it is a deodorant that comes out,’ said Lynx barbershop project leader, justifying the extension. Promoted as ‘bloke heaven’ the salons were a post-modern cross between an old-fashioned barber shop and a video games arcade (arcade games and MTV screens were installed to prevent boredom setting in while customers had their hair cut).
The salons also carried a full range of Lynx products and branded merchandise. After 14 months, the salons were closed.
‘Brand extensions are not simply a sideline for us – we set aggressive targets for all our initiatives,’ a Unilever spokesman told the Guardian newspaper. ‘The barbershops generated a lot of publicity, but failed to meet the targets.’
Colgate Kitchen Entrees
In what must be one of the most bizarre brand extensions ever Colgate decided to use its name on a range of food products called Colgate’s Kitchen Entrees. Needless to say, the range did not take off and never left US soil. The idea must have been that consumers would eat their Colgate meal, then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste. The trouble was that for most people the name Colgate does not exactly get their taste buds tingling. Colgate also made a rather less-than-successful move into bath soaps. This not only failed to draw customer attention, but also reduced its sales of toothpaste.
Invented in 1912, LifeSavers are one of the favourite brands of sweet in the
Pond’s, the popular brand of face cream, didn’t prove to be quite so popular when it applied its name to toothpaste. In a blind test environment, people were not able to differentiate Pond’s toothpaste from that of Colgate.
However, when the Pond’s name and imagery were attached to the toothpaste, no-one was interested. Although Pond’s had successfully extended its brand before (into soap products, for instance), these extensions had all been linked by a similar fragrance. ‘The main attribute of a toothpaste is taste, this mismatch between taste and fragrance created a dissonance in the minds of consumers,’ says Dr M J Xavier, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Marketing. ‘To most people Ponds was something to do with fragrance and freshness and used for external application only.’
Frito-Lay is the leading brand of salty snacks in the
So what could be a better idea than Frito-Lay Lemonade? Although it may have been seen like a logical brand extension Frito-Lay Lemonade bombed. After all, Frito-Lay was a brand which made people thirsty, and therefore is the exact opposite of lemonade. From the consumer’s perspective the fruity, sweet drink had little connection to other Frito-lay products.
In the old days, brands knew their place. Harley Davidson stuck to motorcycles, Coca-Cola stuck to soft drinks, and Colgate stuck to cleaning our teeth. Now, of course, everything is all mixed up. If modern life wasn’t already confusing enough, brands are trying to complicate matters further by creating multiple identities. Sometimes this works. For instance, the Caterpillar clothing range has proved a phenomenal success. Usually, however, brands struggle when they move into unrelated categories. Brand schizophrenia not only aggregates and bewilders consumers, it also devalues the core brand.