The Porsche-branded kitchen earlier this week reminded us that automotive marketing gurus like to use their considerable name equity to brand products having nothing to do with cars. While sometimes this can help increase brand identity with the masses, here's our list of the ten auto-branded products which decrease brand equity and dilute brand stature.
10. Jeep Stroller
Though parents haven't been buying Chrysler vehicles as quickly as the company may like, they love those Jeep-branded strollers. With a reputation for toughness, the baby-moving business isn't a huge stretch for the brand. If they could get as many families into Jeep Commanders as they could into Jeep Commander Strollers the company might be in better shape. [JeepWorld]
9. Renault F1 Backgammon Set
In addition to branding special-edition cars, like the Renaultsport 197 Clio, the Renault F1 team has spread into the fast-paced world of table gaming. Made of real Formula One materials like carbon fiber, sterling silver and F1-style glass laminate, the Renault backgammon set is quite fetching. Even more impressive than the board's careful design is the set's $27,000 price.
8. Hummer Drinking Glasses
When we think about the current plight of the Hummer brand, we suddenly think we want a stiff drink. That's why we're glad HUMMER offers officially licensed drinking glasses, large enough for a few ice cubes and a few ounces of Wild Turkey. And while drinking alcohol and driving cars are two hobbies we think should be kept separate, Hummer offers them on their special branding website along with Hummer golf balls and Hummer spare-tire covers. At just $21.95, it's just the fraction of a cost of a fill-up. [Hummer Stuff]
7. Ducati Flash Drive
Why is there a Ducati Flash Drive? Because Harley doesn't think their buyers know how to use a computer. In addition to looking a lot like a Ducati bike, the flash drive achieves a 20MB read/write speed, making it the fastest consumer drive offered by SanDisk. Oh, and there's a special lanyard!
6. Mini Cooper Luggage
Automaker-branded luggage isn't unique because associating your brand with all forms of travel is an easy connection. But we have to give extra credit to Mini for their branded luggage, which is not only small but also features more than just a "Mini" emblem. The lining of the bags are in the style of a Union Jack flag, and the rolling wheels look like Mini wheels. A Cooper-esque laptop bag is also smart branding given that every other Mini owner also has a MacBook.
5. Porsche Gaming Gear
The Porsche gaming wheel is sure to capture the hearts and minds of those aspiring for a supercar when they move out of the room over their parent's garage. The shifter looks great and it's a lot closer to being auto-related than most useless Porsche-branded products.
4. Asus Lamborghini Smartphone
Any automaker can brand a phone, but props to Lamborghini for branding one killer smartphone. Quad-band GSM? Check. Tri-band WCDMA? Check. GPRS and Edge? Check. Real GPS? Check. Most Lamborghini owners won't know what any of that means, but Lamborghini has successfully positioned itself as a brand always at the extreme.
3. Bugatti Cologne
If you're willing to spend $1.3 million on a supercar, should it be that much of a stretch to spend about $2,750 on a cologne? If you can't afford a Bugatti, at the very least you can smell like one. Delivered with a special holder in a carbon fiber briefcase, the Bugatti cologne is audacious in way that only such an exclusive automaker could pull off. [YouTube]
2. Ferrari Segway
There's a risk to lending your name to a different form of transportation, but when you're Ferrari and said product is a gyroscopically controlled Ferrari Segway scooter you have a perfect gift for the Ferrari owner who can afford anything. While the Ferrari Segway doesn't go any faster and still costs $12,000, it's got that great red paint job and says to other Segway users that you're willing to go the extra mile to prove you've got money to burn.
1. NASCAR Brand Meat Snacks
If you asked the average NASCAR fan what they loved most they'd probably say "stock car racing." If you asked them the thing they loved second most was, it would probably be prepackaged meat products. Whether it's a hot dog or a burger, NASCAR meat is the ultimate non-automotive auto tie-in. And, to cap off the unparalleled achievement of finally bridging the gap between pork products and oval track racing, the marketing geniuses behind this grabbed the slogan "Taste The Excitement." It's just so...beautiful. [Taste The Excitement]