The Absurd Power of Branding … or Not

stephencolbertRecently Stephen Colbert took aim a what he referred to as the absurd power of branding. In truth I believe he, as others do, has mistaken celebrity with branding. His particular rant was about Kanye West’s new clothing line with A.P.C., and specifically his $120 Hip Hop T-Shirt. The shirt is described as: “Collaboration between A.P.C. and Kanye West. Very loose T-shirt in Egyptian cotton. Short sleeves. Ribbing at neckline. Reinforced neckline and shoulders. ‘A.P.C. KANYE’ silk screened inside neckline. Washed Egyptian cotton jersey. 100% Cotton.”

A quick online search found Egyptian Cotton Shirts, and for $23.50 you can have what appears to be an identical shirt. Appears is the operative word. What makes one shirt worth almost $100 more than the other?

One shirt has Kayne silk screened inside the neckline and the other doesn’t. Is that worth $100? Apparently. Is that branding value? No, it’s celebrity value. And as long as Kanye West is a valuable celebrity, that premium can hold.

But, celebrity value can be fleeting. Lance Armstrong wrist bands anyone?

Don’t confuse celebrity with brand. Is a celebrity a brand? Sometimes. Can a brand be a celebrity in its own right? Occasionally. But the two concepts are different, and marketers who miss that do so at their own peril.

Mitch

Advertisements
This entry was posted in brand and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s