My partner, Bill Boyd, ABC, sent me an email I thought blogworthy. Here it is:
I spent time with two brands over the holidays. One carefully guards every aspect of its interactions with the public. This company can demand (and get) premium prices. There’s never any discounting, and no products that don’t convey an air of quality. That brand is Bose. Although Bose has detractors–especially those who feel its products are overpriced–the Bose brand has a long history and excellent reputation. Not to mention enviable margins in a tough industry.
The other “brand” was Thomas Kinkade. He has 1,000 times the artistic talent I’ll ever have–and I like many of his paintings. But I’m appalled by his marketing. Last week, I was in a gift shop that offered Thomas Kinkade refrigerator magnets. Add to those Thomas Kinkade nightlights, Christmas ornaments, illuminated nativity trees, candle holders, music boxes, cuckoo clocks, animated snowman figurines, necklaces, golf gear, bath and body products. . . and you have a brand that’s drowning in low-end kitsch.
There’s no doubt Kinkade is a huge commercial success. And he may well have maximized the amount of money he can wring from people who like his work. But in the process, he’s trashed his image as a serious artist . . . and he may well have damaged his historical reputation and the enduring value of his works. I think the Bose model would have served him better.
Love him or not, Thomas Kinkade is the most financially successful artist of our generation.
So, is he an irresponsible steward of his brand, or a master marketer that should be commended for bringing his work to the masses?
Comment below to share your opinion.