Monday, April 28, 2008

Milking the Brand

Some friends were recently riffing about vacuum cleaners: “The better the vacuum cleaner, the more it sucks.” But it’s more than just comic goofing. Vacuum cleaners are also a problem for me. When I buy them, they break. Finally I stopped buying them. But I have a Hell of dust. As it happens, I was once related by marriage to an older successful businesswoman. She was successful in the rag trade, and, out of charity, taught marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She ran a national chain of lingerie stores in shopping centers. Her stores were in fact owned by the guy who owned the shopping centers. Every one of his malls had one of her lingerie stores. Apparently lingerie attracts customers to the mall, and the company would then make money by renting out the other stores. Thus she did not have to make money at lingerie, only have lots of customers. I was married to her daughter for ten years and thus observed the entire history of one product. One day my mother-in-law had the idea of licensing Hubert de Givenchy’s name and making pantyhose decorated with his characteristic G. The hose were sold as “1000 Gs”. She licensed Hubert’s name for five years. Her company owned mills in Mississippi. The first year or so, she had the mills manufacture hosiery of the highest quality which she sold at less than their true value. This established the brand. Then she sold a slighter cheaper version of the product at a slightly higher price. The last year she milked the brand. That is, she manufactured huge quantities of 1000G stockings which were all crap, but by the time people figured out 1000G stockings were crap, her licenses had expired. She had built a brand, and intentionally destroyed it. I was very surprised. She informed me that that was standard marketing practice. Now whenever I buy a vacuum cleaner which instantly breaks, I realize somebody is milking a brand.

2 Comments:

Blogger Carol Novack said...

Lingerie is an integral part of being and non-being, everything and nothing, as evinced in this part of my poem "In the beginning is":

dust of pharaohs
bones in caves
meat scraps in mud huts
seal blubber in igloos
cemetery ashes
ascending phoenixes
coffin dust
galaxy debris
casino chips
inedible molecular leftovers
ketchup on pompoms
moping mouths of monkfish
wings of pterodactyls
tears of wolves
seeds of pomegranates
string theory of corsets
galactic trash
rims of blue hats
feathers of canaries
tiaras on dance room floors
meows of cats
piss in the holes
hearts of minnows
hairs of dogs
a partridge in a pear tree
my pantaloons flung carelessly
in the kitchen sink
down in the hole
the kitchen sink
he and she and they
and we and us and you
and them and him and her
and IIII
(and so on and on ....

As for vacuum cleaners, I had it with Hoovers and Eurekas (nothing to cheer about); recently switched to Miele, which purrs like a honey cat.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

Dear Mr Andre,
I am sorry to write you here, but I cannot find any way to contact you privately.
My name is Serena and I am an Italian university student. I am looking for Jackie Curtis's scripts. In paricular I would like to deal with "Glamour, Glory and Gold" in my dissertation, but I assume Jackie Curtis never published her plays. So, I am writing to ask you wheter you coul you help me somehow.
This is my email address: liliagump@gmail.com

I hope to hear from you,
Thank you very much!

Serena

12:45 AM  

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