I’m still reeling about Lassie. That the scion of a loyal, courageous, elegant line of war heroes (The Courage of Lassie) has been re-positioned as the “Kate Middleton of animals” is more than I can bear.
Granted re-branding is tricky, as are brand extensions. Should this young Lassie have been a brand extension instead of a re-brand? Can Lassie come home?
Case in point: I’ve been admiring a new extension of a venerable local brand as it’s come together over the last several months. The new building is adjacent to the original, so the relationship of mother-to-child is obvious. Of course, this is not Hollywood, but we’re getting close to it here in Austin, Tex.
The original, Fonda San Miguel, is a gorgeous place filled with a world-class art collection, food and drink. A welcoming, elegant restaurant with adjacent gardens.
Here’s the extension. It’s unannounced, unopened but rumored to be a tapas bar. Perfect, no?
The brand extension works because it contrasts with the original while maintaining the flavor. It’s unexpected, but it makes sense. (I sound like I’m at a wine tasting, don’t I? But you understand what I’m saying.)
A lesson for Dreamworks? Don’t tamper with an icon. Did anyone ask Marilyn Monroe to lose weight? Well, probably, but that’s another conversation.
Is it presumptious to compare a Hollywood icon to a local institution? Perhaps. But then again why not, if something is to be learned?
Maybe Lassie’s great-great-great offspring should have been renamed “Lasi” and positioned as a fashion blogger?