Brand extension is a marketing strategy in which a firm marketing a product with a well-developed image uses the same brand in different product categories. The new product is called a spin-off.
A perfect example of that was Old Spice, which is an after-shave lotion made famous by those old commercials in the 1970s and 1980s. Thanks to brand extension, it’s one of the leading deodorant, shampoo, and body wash brands. It was a brilliant brand extension for Proctor and Gamble because men’s grooming products are a short spin-off from cologne.
As far as brand extension failures, I think there is no bigger failure than Colgate Frozen Dinner Entrees. Yes, Colgate made frozen dinners.
Colgate launched Kitchen Entrees, a line of frozen food products, in the US in 1982. They hoped to capture the growing market for ready-to-eat meals. Maybe they also hoped that customers, after enjoying their frozen meals, would go out and buy its toothpaste as well?
Colgate is one of top selling brands for toothpaste. Colgate in the recent past has done a great job of selling toothbrushes and dental rinse, which is just an extension for dental care products, which makes sense.
I have no idea why the company decided to use the same name to sell food products, called Colgate Kitchen Entrees. Did they think consumers would eat their Colgate meal, and then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste? I don’t know about you, but connecting the taste of food and toothpaste is a bad idea. I’d be afraid my penne pasta with chicken tasted like mint. It’s no surprise the product failed miserably, so what were they thinking?