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Brave new Ferrari World

Brave new Ferrari World

Ferrari World is progressing well, judging by recent press coverage. But is this particular brand extension right for the prancing horse? And what happens if it’s not?

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June 3, 2010 3:42 by



According to the papers, October 28 is the date to watch out for. On that day, all being well, the doors will open on the UAE’s latest tourist attraction: Ferrari World.

The magnificent and iconic roof structure is 200,000 square meters. Under the 50m high roof the building will house the world’s largest indoor theme park in an 86,000 square meter space. There will be more than 20 attractions at Ferrari World, including the world’s fastest roller coaster (which will be just outside the main building).

By any standards, the giant theme park would be something for the people of the UAE to get excited about – another grand addition to the country’s ever growing list of leisure assets. But, given that it’s being created by Ferrari, you can sense an extra edge of excitement around the development.

Quite why that should be the case is hard to put a finger on. Do Ferrari have a track record of creating the greatest theme parks in the world? No. But they do have one of the strongest brands in the world, one synonymous with not only luxury and exclusivity, but also speed, excitement and aesthetic ideals. Combine that with a theme park, and you are onto a winner. At least that’s what Ferrari thinks.

But they aren’t the only brand to have tip-toed onto the landmined territory that is “brand extension.” The basic ploy is to take an established brand name or identity – one known for its excellence in a given category – and to apply it in a totally different category.

Why do we call it landmined? Well, because many brands that have tried it have been burned. Here are a couple of Kipp’s favorite examples of brands that tried to extend, but hit a dead end:

HARLEY DAVIDSON.

According to the Brand Failures blog, Harley were fairly successful with their early extension efforts, capitalizing on Harley fans’ enthusiasm for the company logo. They put it on t-shirts, caps and other clothes. But they didn’t stop, eventually producing Harley Davidson perfumes – and even wine coolers. The brands core audience didn’t like it, but fortunately Harley were astute enough to tackle it early. “Over the years,” said Joe Nice, director of corporate communications, “we’ve tried a number of different approaches to merchandising and put the Harley Davidson brand on some things that, in retrospect, we may not have been well-advised to do.”



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