Observations from Time Square New YorK
We wander excited but aimlessly being part of an attraction that exists as an attraction just by being itself.
The kids get a tad excited when they spot the Hershey’s Chocolate store and before I know it we’re walking in the door accepting a Hershey’s chocolate on arrival. Yep… it’s delicious. We walk around taking the ‘like kids in a lolly shop‘ phase literally soaking in the smell and looking in awe at the largest chocolate bar in the world mind). This store was over the top but a pure reflection of its brand… delicious, exquisite, and expensive chocolate.
I thought our chocolate infatuation was over until we walked out the door to be greeted directly across the road by a massive, overly cheery, ten foot blue M&M perched on top of a 3-story building.
Again, with two chocolate loving teenagers... I am overruled and in we walk.
Now if this was a homage to Willy Wonka I would have been as excited as the kids believe me but this oversized floor looked more like the merchandise store on the exit of a Theme Park than anything to do with chocolate itself. M&M branded EVERYTHING. Umbrellas, t-shirts, caps, towels, babies BIBs, babies’ rattles (I am not joking). Even more concerting was the amount of people spending their hard-earned dollars on this crap. They were literally buying M&M baby rattles!
At this point my apparent deep seeded dislike for 'in your face' over commercialism seem to quickly boil to a surface as I led two perturbed kids out the door ( ‘but we haven’t gone to level 3 yet? ’)
My rant on the stupidity of people, on over-commercialism and over branding (yep…they’re lucky kids having me as a mum!).quickly led to an interesting debate with my eldest stating ‘M&M are a smart business. They’re using their brand really well and are obviously making money so who cares?’
He had a point. No body else in that store appeared disturbed. They are paying for one of the most expensive commercial rent spaces in the world and they appear to be rocking it. BUT at what point have they sold out in order to ‘make money’. When does a cute button chocolate in rainbow colours with two little letters neatly placed on the front turn into a giant merchandising warehouse?
Does this make people love and want the brand more? OR does it, like me, make people shudder in disgust and never want to pop one in their mouth again.
I have spoken to many retailers over the years about the concept of ‘Over branding’. Former Gold Coast company Unit believe a major catalyst to the downfall of their incredibly successful global business was due to the expanding retail operation where the brand quickly went from being a ‘cult’ offering to a standard form of urban street clothing accessible to everyone.
Should brands expand as much as they can in order to provide a more solid grounding for commercial success or is there something about keeping an element of exclusivity and surprise… about staying true to why you existed in the first place?
I would love to know your thoughts so feel free to comment below!