Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Marketing News of the Week: Personal Branding, Brand Partnerships, and More

During the past week (okay, couple of weeks), there were news stories that reflected personal branding, brand partnerships, product pricing, and more.


On March 29, 2024, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, put an end to the speculation about her disappearance from public life since abdominal surgery in mid-January. Despite cruel commentary in mainstream media publications in the UK and on social media, Catherine explained that she had been diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer and that she and Prince William wanted time to discuss the news with their three young children.

This announcement was significant in several ways: 

First, it brought having a cancer diagnosis to the forefront for the second person in the British Royal Family - King Charles III announced that he was undergoing cancer treatment back in February. 

Second, the statement by Catherine put an end to all types of conspiracy theories including infidelity, plastic surgery, a coma, body doubles, and even a secretly dead king. However, some say that the media circus can be attributed to the Royal Family due to their lack of transparency. According to Yahoo Entertainment, "The Monarchy should have known what would happen in an information vacuum, but chose to let the rumors run wild regardless."

Third, following the video statement by Catherine, several UK newspapers ran apologies on their front pages. How often is this done, if ever?

Fourth, Catherine spoke herself. Her statement was not released by either Kensington Palace or other "official" spokesperson. The fact that the viewing public was able to see her looking as well as can be expected was important for her personal brand and for the Royal Family.

Fifth, with Catherine and King Charles III sidelined from their public duties, and with Prince William taking time off to care for his wife and family, the person now most visible is Queen Camilla. According to Professor Arianne Chernock of Boston University, "Queen Elizabeth recognized that the Monarchy is never just about the Monarch, it's about the family on the throne. Now is Camilla's moment."

The personal brands of all key members of the Royal Family are quickly evolving. Will the Monarchy survive?


Beginning later in 2024, Krispy Kreme announced that its doughnuts will be available at McDonald's restaurants. Will you order a Big Mac, French fries, and a Krispy Kreme doughnut? Is this a good brand partnership?


Dollar Tree announced that its stores will increase the maximum price of items to $7. Will the store change its name to Seven Dollar Store? Not likely, since it could then be confused with Seven-Eleven!


Costco announced that it will only sell its food court items, including hot dogs, pizza, soft drinks, and more, to members only. Will this lead to more members? Time will tell.


Major league baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent Shohei Ohtani during the off-season for an insanely large amount of money, $700 million to be exact. While Ohtani was scandal-free for his six years with the Angels, a major scandal has erupted involving his translator and friend, who allegedly bet on sports teams and used millions of dollars of Ohtani's money to pay off his debts. We are just in the beginning phase of this story, but how tarnished Ohtani's personal brand will be - and if his new Dodgers fans will embrace him - are fodder for future chapters.


At a recent auction by Heritage Auctions of movie props, the wood panel from the 1997 movie TITANIC that saved Rose, but controversially, not Jack - was the most sought-after item - and sold for $718,750 (bidding had started at $60,000).

According to a press release from Heritage Auctions, "The Hero Floating Wood Panel played an iconic role in the 1997 blockbuster. As the Titanic sinks, stranding passengers in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Kate Winslet's character Rose manages to lie afloat on the piece of a door while Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack clings to the edge, eventually succumbing to hypothermia. The biggest scene, really, the climactic scene if you will."


And lastly, are you ready for the total solar eclipse, when the moon will cross directly in front of the daytime sun, on April 8th? If yes, have you purchased your proper eye protection to watch the solar eclipse? NASA estimates that 99 percent of people living in the United States will be able to see a partial or total eclipse. Precisely what kind of eclipse you will see will depend on your location and time zone. According to NASA, the next solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States will be on August 23rd, 2044. So you may want to purchase those protective eye goggles!

What other recent marketing buzz caught your attention? There's always something happening that impacts marketing, so tune in to #DebbieLaskeysBlog for the scoop!

Image Credits: McDonald's and Dollar Tree.

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