Brand Extensions We Could Do Without

Brand Extensions We Could Do Without

Marketing by brand is big money, but just how far can you stray from your core product or service before consumers say no?

Picture this: A burly, tattooed Hell’s Angel wears a dainty gingham apron over his black leather biker vest as he frosts a birthday cake. It’s a highly incongruous image, but one that leapt to my mind upon hearing of the Harley-Davidson brand cake-decorating kit currently available for sale via baking stores and Web sites.

You can see the thinking. Riding a Harley (HDI) is more than a form of transportation, it’s a lifestyle. Shouldn’t the company take advantage of that by introducing branded products that its fans need in life—such as icing?

But when there’s extreme dissonance between a company’s core identity and a new product launched to reach untapped markets, corporations risk diluting the power of their brands. Would you buy Bic underwear or Pirates of the Caribbean jewelry?

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