Very interesting...Christie is talking about Playboy, not as a brand, but as a fan culture. I'm increasingly interested in the role media is playing these days in creating Brands 2.0. It used to be kitchen stores sold branded cookware. Then they sold celebrity-branded cookware (Emeril, for example). The other day, I saw "The Food Network" cookware. The media is becoming the brand. Same with the ESPN Zone. Same thing with The Disney Store. (Special shout out to our brilliant marketing friends at Calphalon - they do this well!) Christie talked about the origins of Playboy the fact that Hef personalized and personified the brand. So much so that the brand was - easily - easy to transcend its original media (the magazine) and move to different technologies - television, internet, mobile. She raised the interesting point that Playboy was one of the first brands (or fan cultures) that changed peoples relationship with their television. Before cable, viewers watched shows. After cable, viewers watched the Playboy channel, not a specific show. Now of course, today viewers do both. But we're certainly finding entertainment brands beginning to push traditional brands off the radar. It's an important idea for all brands. If media creates an immersive experience and builds fans, how can traditional brands compete? How can General Mills connect with consumers better than Martha Stewart (especially when Betty Crocker never really existed)? The intersection between fan culture, media channels and consumers is the future. Are you there?
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