6 worst brand extensions from famous companies

Brand extension failures

Below are some of the most ‘memorable’ brand extension failures. Some brand extensions work really well, however others just fail miserably. We’ve picked six brand extensions that failed, along with potential reasons why.

1. Cosmopolitan yogurt

Cosmopolitan, published in 36 languages and distributed in more than 100 countries made the incredulous link between their readership and dairy products. Apparently a Cosmo study in 1999 highlighted that 65 per cent of Brits used edible products in the bedroom.

Furthermore, the yogurt was far pricer than its competitors and came in ‘sophisticated’ packing. That in itself was odd when you considered what they intended the yogurt to be used for…

Some 18 months later, the yogurt was already off of the shelves.

2. Colgate Kitchen Entrees

The idea was that after a delightful Colgate meal, you could then brush your teeth afterwards using, yes, Colgate toothpaste. This brand extension was such a disaster that it never left US soil.

The problem? Colgate is not a brand name one would associate with a hot meal after work. The idea reminded too many people of eating toothpaste.

3. Harley Davidson cake decorating kit

The Harley Davidson fan is by no means your average customer – they are loyal beyond belief and follow a set of ‘freedom and macho’ associated values. So whoever thought that Davidson perfume disappointed the fans, clearly didn’t hear about the cake decorating kit.

Licensed by Bakery Crafts, the icing kit was too ‘Disneyfied’, according to a survey done by branding experts Tipping Sprung. It was immediately voted the “worst brand extension” when it was launched.

4. Virgin Brides

In 1996, entrepreneur Richard Branson decided to try the wedding dress business. Of course, he entered it with a bang – attending the launch wearing a wedding dress.

But Virgin Brides, only ever two shops in the UK, soon suffered losses in the hyper-competitive market. In 2007, the stores closed down due to lack of proft. When asked why Virgin Brides failed, Branson cheekily responded: We soon realised there weren’t any.”

5. easyJet’s easyCinema

One would think that cheaper cinema tickets would be a massive hit in any country, but it doesn’t seem to be taking the UK by storm. Crucially, there are two reasons why.

  • Experience: Stellios’ no-frils brand simply won’t work in the cinema industry. You go to the cinema for an amazing experience; and
  • Distribution rights: The entrepreneur started easyCinema without decent distribution, and is now being prevented from getting first-run films at market price.
Was this one of the worst brand extensions in history?

6. Zippo female perfume

Although the perfume is called fruity, what woman would want to pull out a perfume bottle looking exactly like a lighter and start spraying herself in public? It brings up thoughts of smelling like smoke and lighter fluid!

This brand extension from Zippo was destined to fail.

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