Vote for the Best and Worst Brand Extensions

Which marketers pushed their products to new frontiers—and which ones pushed things too far?

Headshot of Robert Klara

Quick—do you know what Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, Ralph Lauren for the Pet and Mr. Clean Car Wash all have in common? Answer: Each is an example of a brand extension—a new product that a brand famous in one category rolls out in another category. A time-honored tactic of the branding world, extensions are a great way both to enhance a brand’s image and boost the bottom line.

Or not. For every great brand extension out there, history offers many more examples (Colgate frozen entrees, Harley-Davidson perfume) that prompt the question: What were they thinking?

Well, according to brand-extension agency Parham Santana, here’s what they should be thinking. A successful brand extension is a logical fit with the parent brand and uses that name to competitive advantage. It also broadens the consumer’s perception of what the parent brand can represent and—of course—it produces sales.

Keep all that in mind, because it’s time to give us your input. In partnership with Parham Santana, Adweek is inaugurating a poll to determine the best and the worst brand extensions of the past year. Check out the lists below and pick your top three from each.

Voting ends on Jan. 22. Results will appear in the Feb. 4 issue as well as online and in Adweek's iPad edition.

Happy voting.

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.