When line extension is a bad idea

When a company has successfully built up a strong brand, it is understandable that they would want to leverage that brand with new products through line extension. Logical, but not necessarily a good idea. Especially when (a) the brand has little recognition in a foreign market, (b) the brand as a word or phrase means something totally different from the product.

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I stumbled across a vivid example of this in a departmental store today. In amongst the air-conditioners on display, a sign jumped out with the word “Hotpoint” on it. Which to me immediately said “heater”. It being summer and close to 30°C today, it was certainly a surprise that a heater was being displayed. I looked closer and the second line of the sign said “Evaporative Cooler”. Oh dear.

The joke extended onto the website – it was last updated in winter 2006 and showed a lovely heater on the homepage going full bore.

Just because you can line-extend, does not mean you should. Would you brush your teeth with Colgate toothpaste if you can also buy Colgate laundry detergent and floor ammonia?

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