Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fully integrated brand for UPS includes the color

Several days ago I remarked in a blog post entitled “Brand vs Bland” how I thought UPS had fashioned a great brand based upon the concept of “logistics”, and how they now “own” that term.

Thinking a little further about their turn-around from “What can Brown do for You?”, it occurred to me that if you’re going to be logistic, there’s no better color for you than brown. Logistics is no-nonsense. Logistics comes from the military, and at least the US Army still wears brown. Brown is a “working” color.

According to those who study color psychology, brown denotes honesty, modesty and reliability.

So all along UPS had picked the right color, and I’m glad they ignored me and other critics for making such a big deal of their corporate color in the previous (still innocuous) What can Brown do for You? campaign.

The UPS as the logistics brand is, indeed fully integrated. There are no disconnects to turn prospects into scoffers.

Brand extensions: formula for diluting mother brand

Way back in the late 1970’s, Al Ries and Jack Trout introduced the concept of “positioning”. And one of the precepts they espoused was to stay away from product line extensions because they tend to dilute the mother brand, and often cannibalize it.

But people keep introducing brand extensions, some successful, some not. The latest to come to my attention is a line of body washes, deodorants and soaps exclusively designed for men introduced by Unilever under the Dove label. Yes, Dove products for men. Dove, the brand that has been catering quite successfully and exclusively to women for decades, has now consciously diluted their brand with this extension strategy.

Here’s the Dove Men+Care line.

Note they’ve incorporated the Dove logo, though the typeface is a little different, as well as the famous dove icon. The color palette is masculine, but I’m not sure the features promoted for the line are particularly compelling to men. Here’s their pitch for a body wash:

Dove® Men+Care™ Clean Comfort Body and Face Wash with MICROMOISTURE technology is clinically proven to fight skin dryness better than regular men’s body wash. This ultra-light formula rinses off easily for a refreshing clean and total skin comfort.

Below are soap packages for Men+Care and regular Dove.
Female Dove - Male Dove

I’m just amazed that the people at Unilever would extend a franchise brand based upon a very loyal and dedicated female market into a male-oriented product line. It dilutes the messaging of Dove, including their “Campaign for real beauty” self-esteem program for teenage girls. It also hopes to appeal to men who have heard the Dove story and positioned the brand as exclusively female in their collective mind’s eye.

Now I’m not against doing some line extension as Dove has done from soap to other feminine products like body washes, lotions, deodorants and shampoos. But this new line, well I’m afraid they’ve stepped over the line here.

I would rather they had established a brand new line based on a product exclusive or in some significant way differentiated their product from other male-oriented toiletries. Yes, they did differentiate by adopting the Dove signature, but it’s the wrong differentiation because it’s not relevant or creditable. I’d have advised them to begin from Ground One rather than take a chance on diluting the Dove brand with women and on convincing men that Dove can mean masculine, too.

But they didn’t ask.