M&M backpacks and camping gear might not work but M&M lunch boxes make sense. Hershey tennis shoes are a stretch but a Hershey hot drink holder may fly.
Certainly M&Ms and Hershey have extended their reach in a variety of areas, but when is it too much?
Derrick Daye and Brad VanAuken in their excellent blog Branding Strategy Insider at http://brandingstrategyinsider.com/ point out that a brand is damaged when there is not a good match or when the brand is extended too far. Their Packard car example is almost folk wisdom. By offering a cheaper model, this damaged the demand for the most expensive and prestigious model and it fell out of favor. Apparently, Packard executives forgot to “Ask the man who owns one.”
I suggest that pictographic research may be an excellent way to test brand extensions. Simply picture the purchasing situation, place the brand on the proposed extension, and listen to potential consumers. You won’t have to ask leading questions and you will get some very unexpected, but relevant, information. For more info e-mail AllegianceResearch@gmail.com