NASHVILLE MARKETING BLOG: Insights on strategic branding, marketing management, general business and Nashville marketing topics. By Monica Powers, Vanderbilt MBA and marketing consultant in Nashville, TN.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Meaningful Distractions: Hello Kitty Rocks Fender

So I've been too busy catching up on old episodes of The Sopranos to blog about marketing. In season two, a soul-searching Tony Soprano wonders out loud in his psychotherapist's office whether life is nothing more than a series of distractions until we die.

I can see how this endless series of distractions could be a philosopher's nightmare and a marketer's dream. After all, the way we relate to brands and consume branded products could be defined simply as the uniquely human quest to fill our lives with significance. As curators in our personal museum of life, we choose our distractions carefully. We surround ourselves with brands that add some value to the collection. I'd like to think that brands help make the inevitable busy-ness of life more meaningful and human.

Incidentally, summer is a great time to indulge your personal distractions. My latest is the Hello Kitty Fender Stratocaster, an interesting example of co-branding that brings together Sanrio-- a brand I have deep ties to since childhood--with Fender guitars, a powerful niche brand that I'm just getting to know. Although you may not naturally associate cutesy cartoon cat with serious electric guitar, Hello Kitty and Fender have certain things in common. Both are established brands with a cult-like following. Hello Kitty gets some serious respect from women in my generation who grew up with the brand in the late 70s and 80s, and now she is reinventing herself as a rock icon for a new generation of girls, while introducing them to a respectable guitar manufacturer.

I went with the black version of the Kitty Strat for a greater sense of authenticity (it also comes in pink but that was a bit much).

The world of Fender, now that's a different story. I'm just dipping my toes into this new lifestyle brand (it's definitely a lifestyle) as I learn to play my guitar. So far I've found it to be a welcoming planet.

All in all, when strong brands collide, it can be pretty powerful stuff. Thank goodness for meaningful distractions.


Anonymous Michael Wagner said...

So you are a "strat cat"!!!

How does the saying go? We need "Les Paul" and more "Strat Cats".

Combination is one of the key elements in creativity; toaster + oven = toaster oven. It makes sense that brands might find meaningful combinations to create meaningful distractions.

Thanks for putting Tony on pause and posting - always a helpful read.

Keep practicing...and creating, Mike

August 08, 2006 8:39 PM

Anonymous Gavin Heaton said...

There is something about uniqueness and collectability that adds to the overall experience ... I have a Limited Edition "FeLiX" Little Martin which has a great sound, a fun look and is nice and easy to play. If only I could pull some good music out of the bag of tricks!

August 14, 2006 6:52 AM

Anonymous Ann Handley said...

Sanrio (the Cult of Kitty) is an interesting company -- co-branding everything from Build-a-Bear "kitties" to Fender guitars and a million products in between. It seems that their market is females between the ages of 2 and....well, 102.

August 14, 2006 11:40 AM

Blogger Monica Powers said...

Sanrio's staying power is really something...I can't rationalize the appeal of their brands but it's definitely real. This is coming from someone closer to the 102 end of the age spectrum! ;)

August 14, 2006 3:20 PM

Anonymous Susan Cergol said...

Monica, I'm glad to have discovered your blog (thanks to Mike Wagner for another excellent tip!) and am finding it a wonderful "meaningful distraction" on my lunch hour as I catch up on previous posts and conversations.

(My own recent guilty pleasure was a "Desperate Housewives" marathon after a friend returned from the U.S. with the first season DVD set.)

Thanks for the great material; will keep reading and sharing in the conversation.

August 15, 2006 6:03 AM

Blogger Alana said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


August 20, 2009 10:16 PM


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