Brand extensions can either be great successes (marmite flavour cheese, for example) or searing flops (green ketchup).
I’ve spotted two new additions to the extension marketplace that I think should fall into the former category…
Yes, it’s a bit of an animal (oh the irony value of that statement). However, parent company Unilever have just licensed a range of dog toys, based on the Peperami creature. Here’s one:
This is, I believe, Unilever’s first foray into the pet market (albeit under license to an actual dog toy manufacturer).
So from a bit of an animal to a bit for an animal, will this brand extension work?
I think it probably will for the following reasons:
Peperami is a well recognised brand and has been around for a long time. I used to enjoy a stick every now and again when I ate meat – and that’s going back some 11 years. Even without vast amounts of empirical research, I would suggest that most people have at least heard of the brand and would recognise the tagline, even if they don’t partake of the product itself.
Dog owners – like me – want fun toys for their animals. After all, we’ll be playing with them as much as our pooches will.
It’s consonant with the overall brand. The toy is tough, rewarding to play with and not vastly expensive. Somewhat like the ‘snack’ then.
It’s witty. I actually find the whole thing highly amusing – the creature is a bit of an animal, my dog’s quite a lot of an animal. So it makes far more sense than a toy duck with a squeak.
So thumbs up to Unilever/Peperami.
Onto the second extension: Zanussi.
However, the company do make cookers (as I found out with a quick check back to Google), so this isn’t a toy too far.
Compared to the Peperami dog toy, I don’t think that this will be a huge seller. However, it should be a successful brand extension for one fundamental reason.
Buying this toy for your child places Zanussi in a new context within your home.
And it’s a context you’re likely to notice as your child ‘cooks’ up a storm. You’ll be engaging with the core brand in a very different way to throwing in a load of dirty laundry and hitting the on button.
As the fruit of your loins plays with their new Zanussi ‘kitchen’, you’ll watch as a proud parent. You might feel a glow of pride, a buzz of love. You may even join in, drinking pretend tea and eating the pretend three course roast dinner with a light yet oaky Chardonnay that you child has created in your mind.
Within the reach of that glow is Zanussi, its logo prominently displayed at eye level. Subconsciously, this will probably stick – so when you’re next in the market for some white goods, the Zanussi label will appear that little bit more prominently.
Slightly more worryingly (but only if you’re a conspiracy theorist) is the fact that your progeny may be future-conditioned into buying Zanussi products because subconsciously they link the name and logo to the feelings of play that they experienced as a child. I’m not sure how likely this scenario actually is, to be honest. But it’s worth considering…
Both brand extensions should work, in my book.
Peperami will drag in some sales from dog owners, increasing their profit margins and perhaps increasing proclivity to purchase their low value snack.
Zanussi, meanwhile, might make a few quid from the sale of their toy, but they’re playing a longer game with higher profit centres on their white, big ticket, goods as the goal.
Two very different aims and approaches – but I foresee success for both…