Excessive Branding – Is There Such a Thing?

So I guess I’m on nerd warp-drive as I get closer and closer to Comic Con.

The other day I was watching Resident Evil: Retribution (don’t judge me!) and I had to pause at the scene where Jill Valentine (played by Sienna Guillory) “boots up” and her eyes turn from her normal color to the Umbrella Corporation logo. At first this is kind of cool, even though I’m pretty sure Jill is supposed to be organic and not a machine, but whatever! I’ll give it to Paul W.S. Anderson for at least creatively butchering one of the greatest video game series of all time (unlike Michael Bay and his not-to-be-mentioned upcoming movie this August). This got me thinking about branding, and while I don’t think there are any corporations out there that are going to go to the lengths of Umbrella, I had to wonder if there are any out there that are guilty of excessive branding.df11213b1656fcea3a65041239f252ed

This might be a touchy topic as it really comes down to a matter of opinion. Is over branding when companies that almost everyone everywhere knows still shell out millions of dollars for Super Bowl ads? Or is it when they’re in our face all of the times regardless of popularity? What about the idea above, in which excessive and unnecessary lengths are taken to advertise in manners that no one would really ever notice? (I don’t think anyone was going to stop Valentine in that movie and debate whether the proper shade of red was reflected in her eyes, most were just trying to avoid getting killed by her.) Maybe all of these qualify? Maybe it depends on the brands? Below are a few arguments that were made on excessive branding.

What do you think?

 

  1. Tennis Shoes by Kool Aid

    Look at me in my Kool-Aid shoes!

    Don’t you step on my Kool-Aid shoes!

First of all, what?

Yes, these were apparently a thing. Now from what I can tell these are not age specific, but I don’t think anyone at any age loves Kool-Aid so much that they would want it branded on their sneakers. Some of the styles are pretty subtle, but others are blindingly abhorrent on the color spectrum. The only thing that would make these more distasteful is if with every step you heard the Kool-Aid man’s “Oh Yeah!” resounding somewhere from your heel region. I’m not sure who was on the board meeting when this was approved, but electroshock therapy should have been administered at some point in time thereafter. This brand marriage doesn’t even make sense! I do not think of shoes when drinking Kool-Aid, nor do I think of Kool-Aid while shoe shopping!

 

  1. Cologne by Play-Doh

I’m still not entirely convinced that this isn’t a joke, but Amazon reviews seem at least moderately legit. Why this was ever a thought in anyone’s head I have no idea. I’ll just briefly revisit my comment on electroshock therapy. Reasons this would be necessary…maybe?

 

Oh baby, is that Red Play-Doh by Demeter you're wearing?

Oh baby, is that Red Play-Doh by Demeter you’re wearing?

 

- Your two year old has a really hot play date.
- You are one of three Play-Doh collectible fanatics on the globe.
- As a gag gift.

 

That’s it. Seriously. What is this, and why? I thought the Kool-Aid shoes were insane, but this takes the cake. Or the Play-Doh.

 

 

  1. Romance Novels by Nascar
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I used to work at Borders back in the day, and I remember my reaction when I first saw these on the romance novel end cap. It was somewhere along the lines of “Seriously?” and “Wow, something worse than Twilight finally hit the market.” I was wrong on the latter point as I don’t think anything worse than Twilight could do the damage that series did to literature everywhere. (Before you argue, the 50 Shades of Grey book series originally started off as Twilight fanfiction – so yes it is responsible for catastrophic damage.)  I digress. I have a few issues with romance novels by Nascar that may come off as callous as a non-Nascar fan:

  • Do Nascar drivers really look like this?

The quick answer is no, they don’t. My parents watch Nascar, I grew up with Nascar, and no one involved with Nascar looks like these people do! It’s fine if you think Jeff Gordon is okay-looking, but he is not Fabio or Brad Pitt. And why are so many of these men wearing suits? Romance in general is responsible for a lot of unrealistic scenarios, but these books I’d wager make fun of themselves with how seriously they’re presented. I’m PRAYING there are no racing innuendos in these books, but let’s face it, based on some of these titles, there probably are. And on that note…

  • Aren’t a lot of these titles things you DON’T want to happen on a race day?

Running on Empty? Over the Wall? Overheated? Into the Corner? There are no corners on race tracks, just walls, and generally you want to avoid hitting or going over those, right? Especially at a hundred miles per hour! I’m going back to the reflection that these are likely puns or innuendos, and if this is what the writers came up with I’m not overly confident in the quality of prose for the next couple hundred pages.

  • What is the point?

I’m pretty sure Nascar isn’t hurting for money, and based off what I’ve seen they have no problem drawing in female fans, so why romance novels? Are race car drivers really the next apex of desirable athletes? (Can they even be called athletes?) These are questions I don’t have answers for, and actually hesitate to give my opinion on. It’s definitely another one of those marriages of products that I can’t put my finger on.

From my days at Borders I think I can safely say that romance is like fantasy for most of the female reading population, so maybe the play here is to hit the demographic of women who instead of being whisked away by Conan the Barbarian would rather be driven off into the sunset by Dale Earnhardt Jr. I never got into the romance genre and doubt that’ll change anytime soon, but maybe the ability to use familiar cars that are owned by the Nascar franchise helps drive (no pun intended) the reality for the reader?

Let us know in the comments if you’ve seen other examples of excessive, nonsense branding or marriage of brands.