Categorized | books, the branding notebook

Al Ries doesn’t like Campbell’s soup. Really. Says so himself.

Al Ries - The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

This is the craziest book review you’re ever going to read. We’re taking on Al Ries and his seriously simplified 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by throwing one major, successful brand after another at the book. Which we’ve chosen completely at random. Honest. And, not surprisingly, we’re finding that the owners of these brands aren’t exactly following Al Ries and, despite the mountains of curses and plagues that Big Al calls down around their heads, these brand owners are making out just fine. In fact, making out better than fine.

So, we’ve decided to “smart up” these 22 Immutable Laws by finding out when breaking them is an opportunity rather than a death sentence It’s not like Al Ries is wrong — listen, the guy has a a gazillion bestsellers and a million dollar consulting practice, so he’s got ten or twelve points on little old me — it’s that, well, the 22 Immutable Laws leave a lot of opportunity and a lot of money on the table. We’re just trying to bring a little bit more of that opportunity back to entrepreneurs!

Campbell’s Soup
Campbell’s Soup is Ries’ this-is-all-wrong exhibit number one in his Law of Subbranding; for Ries, Campbell’s shows how brands are stupidly extended by introducing line extensions such as Chunky Soup, diet soups, and dry soups, breaking his laws of Extensions, Expansion, Contraction, Singularity, Subbrands and losing market share as a result. Them’s a lot of rules to break.

However, on closer examination, Campbell’s share of the market had slipped long before the introduction of its brand extensions leaving Campbell’s with two choices: kill the brand or revitalize it. The brand was extended to chunky soups, light soups, and dry soups to meet changing consumer needs and recover slipping market share. While Ries would demand that the brand be killed off (so Campbell’s violates Ries’ pitiless Law of Mortality), Campbell’s could hold on to brand equity because the word they owned, “soup,” included these extensions. More importantly, the word, “soup,” like “salt,” is an enormously valuable piece of real estate in a consumer’s mind.

Listen, if your brand is the dominant owner of a commodity category as valuable as “soup,” you’d be a moron and a half to let that brand die off if the underlying thing, “soup,” gradually develops into something else.

Letting die the one and only brand that owns the word “soup” in the consumer’s mind would be to concede the entire foundation of the brand’s equity. This leads us to qualify the Law of the One with our Brand Value corollary:

The Brand Value Corollary
One brand = one thing = one word in the consumer’s mind

BUT . . .

Some words are so valuable you may need to extend the brand rather than lose ownership of that word.

Breaking The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1
Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary
Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary
Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary
Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary
Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary
Part 7: Tiffany’s, or The Retail Corollary
Part 8: Vaseline, or The Reinforcement Corollary
Part 9: Fruit of the Loom: The Opportunity Principle of Branding
Part 10: Tylenol, or The Brand Leadership Principle
Part 11: Maytag, or The Principle of the Word
Part 12: Gucci, or The New and Improved Principle of the Word
Part 13: Rubbermaid, or The Blue Oceans Principle of Branding
Part 14: Yamaha, or The Cultural Principle
Part 15: Ivory, or The Principle of Transcendence
Part 16: Al Ries on how to build a brand
Part 17: Al Ries on how to maintain a brand
Part 18: The Final Word

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14 Responses to “Al Ries doesn’t like Campbell’s soup. Really. Says so himself.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  2. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  3. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  4. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  5. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  6. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  7. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  8. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  9. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  10. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  11. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  12. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  13. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]

  14. [...] Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary Part 7: [...]


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