Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brand Extension: IMAX and Ball Aerospace

Here are two examples of brand extension, one ill-advised and one mysterious yet successful:

1. IMAX: Two weeks ago, when looking for a theater in which to see Star Trek, I saw that Star Trek: The IMAX Experience was showing on quite a few screens around Southern California, including our nearby AMC Promenade 16 in Woodland Hills. I didn't recall there being an IMAX screen at that theater, and hadn't seen any construction going on that could have resulted in an IMAX theater. Armed with that knowledge, plus the fact that such a presentation would have involved a $5-per-ticket surcharge, I figured that something fishy was going on and we instead saw it at Pacific's Winnetka 21 in Chatsworth.

It turns out I was right. Actor/comedian Aziz Ansari (who plays Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation) saw Star Trek: The IMAX Experience at one of the AMC theaters in Burbank and was dismayed to discover that the theater was not a full-sized giant IMAX screen, but instead a normal-sized screen that was instead supposedly IMAX quality (also check out part two).Well, guess what, a screen and sound system can have all the quality they want, but if the screen isn't five stories tall, that's not IMAX! Well, OK, maybe the IMAX company had something to do with the setup, but that's extending the brand way beyond what people expect for IMAX. I mean, if Cadillac slapped one of their hood ornaments on a Chevy Cavalier, that wouldn't really be a Cadillac either, no matter what the owner's manual says. Companies should know that if their brand stands for exceptional quality, don't start putting it on inferior products if you don't want to hurt your image.

2. Ball Aerospace: You're familiar with Ball canning jars, with the logo seen here, right? Well, it shouldn't surprise you that the Ball Corporation, which got big making canning jars, has branched out into metal cans, aerosol cans, and other similar products. But it certainly surprises me that Ball Aerospace, which, among other things, built the science instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope, is a division of the same company. Reading the company's history, it seems they started in 1956, but I really have no idea how the transition was made. Did they start just making glass or ceramic electronic components or something? Bizarre how these things happen.


At Monday, May 25, 2009 at 8:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger Richard Mason said...

I had no idea Ball Aerospace made canning jars.


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