Equestria Girls Breaks The Law Of Brand Extension

One of the truths about success is that the impulse to fiddle with it always overrules the wisdom of leaving it alone. No sooner has an animated show achieved critical acclaim and commercial success than ideas are hatched to parlay that success into something else. Today’s topic represents the epitome of the concept of ‘brand extension‘, where a successful brand in one area is transplanted into another. Think of the Disney cruise ships as being an extension of the theme parks. The former plays off the positive public image of the latter despite no real connection to it besides a common owner.

Via: Derpy Hooves News
Via: Derpy Hooves News

The proposed Equestria Girls animated TV show is just such an extension. It takes the wildly popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and attempts to transplant it from a show based on ponies to one based on human characters. The move is being spun as a celebration of the toy line’s 30th anniversary and will take the form of a series.

Why Equestria Girls Raises Concerns

So what’s the deal with it; why should it matter? Well, brand extension is inadvisable for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that the very hope that customers will follow has been proven again and again to be false. This belief can even be a double-edged sword in the case of a poor extension attempt. Not only is there the risk of failure, but also the risk that the contamination can spread back to the originating brand.

In the case of My Little Pony, this could mean that if audiences reject Equestria Girls, then they may also stop watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, buying the associated merchandise and attending the various conventions. So far, both The Hub and Hasbro have been extremely accommodating of fans (despite some hiccups) but this attempt was clearly initiated without any concern for them.

Why Its Being Attempted

Efforts like Equestria Girls are often symptoms that studios or networks are becoming risk averse. In other words, they don’t want to take the chance that a new venture may fail so they rely instead on variations of an existing success story. The risk is certainly lower, but the risk that the brand itself will wear out quicker is a major conern.

At the time of writing (March 2013) the MLP brand shows no signs of slowing down, but the inevitable slowdown is coming sooner rather than later. The Hub (or rather Hasbro) is sowing the seeds for the efforts to keep the brand afloat with Equestria Girls.

We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out how things go, but as of now, Hasbro is willing to take a chance with their most valuable property.

 

Disney Deals To Brides!?

Most companies ignore the Immutable Law of Brand Extension and Disney is no exception. No market is ever too obscure or far-fetched to extend your brand into if there is money to be made in it, and how could a company stand by while so much hard earned cash is carelessly thrown away in a market sector it doesn’t have a toe-hold in? The answer is, get in there and grab a share!

The result is Disney Bridal (yes, really), a collaboration between Alfred Angelo (who?) of Philadelphia, PA and the Walt Disney Company of Burbank, CA. Let’s start with some choice quotes from the press release:

Dreams do come true, especially for women who grew up dreaming of a fairy tale wedding modeled after their favorite Disney Princess character……..the bridal gown collection is inspired by the essence, style and personality of seven iconic Disney Princess characters: Ariel, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White and Tiana.

 

“This collaboration is a wonderful testament of two long-standing, established and respected industry leaders…the magic and storytelling heritage of Disney and the internationally renowned bridal fashion of Alfred Angelo”

 

“Every bride wants to be a princess on her wedding day, and through this collaboration with bridal fashion experts Alfred Angelo, we can now extend the reach of the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings brand and make beautiful Disney Princess-inspired gowns accessible to all brides at a broad retail distribution and affordable prices,” says Pam Lifford, executive vice president, global fashion and home, Disney Consumer Products.

 

Michael sought to capture every girl’s fantasy of feeling like a princess on her wedding day, while being inspired by the magic and identity of each Disney Princess.

So, there is plenty of the usual huff and puff you’d find in the press release. But how about the dresses themselves? Let’s have a peek, along with the descriptions for each.

Aerial

The treasures of the sea inspired Ariel’s gown. The mermaid silhouette features re-embroidered lace, pearl beading, and sequin sparkles.

Sleeping Beauty/Aurora

 Aurora/Sleeping Beauty’s gown is romantic with a dreamy, willowy skirt for this slumbering princess.

Belle

 Belle’s wedding dress, with a draped waistline is inspired by the iconic ballroom dance scene from the film and focuses on making a grand entrance.

Cinderalla

Cinderella’s gown radiates with sparkle as its inspiration is the fairy tale’s enchanted glass slipper.

Yes, but does it include a glass slipper as part of the outfit? If not, I’d feel cheated.

Jasmine

Jasmine’s wedding dress conveys freedom and individuality and as a result her shimmering soft satin gown is exotic with a bejeweled neckline and low cut back.

Snow White

Snow White’s dress is inspired by nature, beauty and grace like the Disney Princess character herself.

Tiana

The regal, one-shoulder taffeta gown for our newest princess, Tiana, reflects her independent spirit with an asymmetric bodice and ruched skirt.

BUT WAIT!

All-new for 2011 and just in time for the fabulous (and coincidentally timely) release of the hilarious Disney classic, Tangled, comes this latest addition to the collection!

Rapunzel

Yup, when it comes to Rapunzel, I’m sure not thinking so much about how inspired the dress is as much as I am how the bride’s hair will never live up to the fairytale image.

So there you go. The dresses range in price from a lot to a very lot and naturally have all the uniqueness that a Dow Jones company like Disney is renowned for. Being a guy with no fashion sense, I am nonetheless confident in saying that these dresses use the term “inspired” in the loosest way possible.

I’m sure even Disney knows that real inspiration for clothing like this comes from the character’s clothes more than anything else.

Thankfully, my fiancée saw right through the whole thing (she came up with the title of this post) as soon as she saw the ad in the Knot magazine. Head on over to her blog see why she won’t be getting one of these dresses.