When Good Brands Go Bad

Ok, this is another rant coming your way. I love brands, marketing, design, the whole shebang when it comes to creating a iconic label. I’m fascinated by the creative process that goes into things that most of us take for granted. I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to experience the process first hand in my work. I still enjoy observing what is going on in beauty and fashion.

I am currently fascinated by some of the branding fails that I see so often, so I’m now going to go on a little rant about a few great brands who have, in my opinion, cocked up big time! Let us explore the concept of what the hell were they thinking?

Case Number One: The Kooples Go Krazy

Ok, I must admit I’ve never been into a The Kooples store, I’m just not cool enough and it’s not within my budget, but I’ve always loved the branding. They are well known for their black shop fronts and fresh, street style photoshoots of couples. Here are some of the lovely examples from past campaigns.

I love the believable set up of the couples and the his and hers styling. The models are appealing to the target market, people that The Kooples shoppers can relate to. And if you’re not a Kooples shopper, they still look pretty cool, quirky and interesting, which is clearly what they were going for. I also like how the photography seems spontaneous, like they’ve stumbled upon these couples that just so happen to be in matching outfits. It’s generally beautiful branding.

Ok, so when I saw their new season campaign, I must admit, I was in shock and I did worry. I laughed in hysterics, wondering, what the hell were they thinking?!

Introducing, the oh so appealing, role model that is Pete Doherty…

Ok, so The Kooples may have made him look passable, but really, REALLY?! Surely a spokesmodel should be inspirational, universally appealing and at least a good role model. But, no, The Kooples have decided to choose a greasy, slimy, dirty little scum bag, who is better known for his drug taking habits than his bands one popular song, which can I remind you all, peaked at number two in the charts EIGHT years ago! He is frequently arrested for possession of heroin, cocaine, ketamine and has been arrested for driving under the influence, car theft, robbery, blackmail and has admitted to a former career as a rent boy. He’s been in prison numerous times and appears to show no sign of remorse in my opinion. He is an embarrassment to be part of British pop culture.

Basically, he is a scummy criminal who admits to being guilty of the above crimes and yet, he still gets paid a shit load of money to be in the public eye and seemingly get away with all sorts of shenanigans.

So yes, if you want to look like or would like your significant other to look like a drug addicted, Z list, greasy grimbag and spend a fortune in the process, this range is for you! The only reason I can rationalise why The Kooples decided to use scumbag Doherty as a spokesmodel is for the controversy and debate it would cause. Personally, if I was a The Kooples customer, this campaign would 100% turn me off the range. I would not want to feel like my money was funding some idiots drug habit and stupidity.

Case Number Two: Why I Dislike Kate Moss

My other case which still to this day drives me mad, is when Kate Moss was caught snorting white powder in 2005, all the reports say stupid stuff like suspected cocaine, but I don’t think we really need to know what it was, it most likely wasn’t icing sugar! We can easily assume that it was most likely something that she shouldn’t be doing. Due to the allegations, Kate Moss was dropped from planned campaigns with Stella McCartney for H&M, Burberry and Chanel. The H&M contract being for £4million pounds!

However, for some insane reason Rimmel still kept hold of them and even to this day, despite Kate’s seedy personal life, she remains at the forefront of the fashion and beauty advertising world. And this is why I would never choose to purchase Rimmel products or anything that Kate Moss has put her name to. It really bothers me that a range like Rimmel, whose key target audience are easily influenced young girls, think it’s ok to have a brand spokesmodel who is such a poor role model.

Plus, look at how weird she looks in Rimmel’s most recent, ridiculously over edited campaigns…

What really pees me off is that if any regular person was caught doing the things that some of the celebs admit to doing, chances are you would be fired and would struggle to find another job. Surely, someone with a criminal record like Pete Doherty’s should not be earning millions of pounds. It’s insane. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever change, it only seems to be getting worse with the increased demand for celeb role models and spokes people.

If things like this annoy you, the only way you can try and counteract it, is to boycott the brands that do wrong, or let them know about your frustrations. With social media, it’s so much easier to vent direct to the source. Shall we see if we can do anything about this stupidity?

What do you think on this subject? Do you agree or disagree with my views?

Any other great examples of stupid branding choices?

Comment below or Tweet me @JayneJRead

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14 thoughts on “When Good Brands Go Bad

  1. Very interesting read, i agree with you 100%.

    I too, don’t enjoy these idiots popping up in my life for doing STUPID things and getting away with it and then romping around on some beach or london bus for an advertising campaign.

    I’ve never heard of The Kooples to be honest so I wouldn’t like to comment on that, but choosing to use that bloke for a campaign is a little silly.. and it is actually in some respects pretty sad, how low do you have to go?

    Rimmel is a lost cause with me. Never bought anything from them and I won’t be whilst Kate is still their spokesmodel. I don’t get the hype with her… and getting this ‘London look’ she raves on about does not appeal to me!


  2. Pete Doherty is not a role model, to my mind. But actually, my judgement is not on that, although I agree with you. For me, it was when I looked at the new campaign from the Kooples. It’s the complete and utter 100% difference between the old campaign and the new one – it makes me wonder which celebrities will be their next face of Kooples, because surely they aren’t daft enough to do this in isolation? And then revert to the adverts we are used to?

    From a completely different angle, maybe this is what Kooples wanted – a discussion, debate, criticisms of them because they are taking the view that any coverage is good coverage?

    Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston

  3. Totally agree with you – Pete D is *not* a fashion model! I really don’t like brands glamorizing drug use. Not cool.

    1. Even if he was a fashion model, he shouldn’t be used for a aspirational image or a role model.

  4. So true. The Kooples posters were so cute, why go and ruin it with a has-been with a dodgy past? Not timely, or relevant.. isnt he renowned for being a longer singleton?

  5. I completely agree with you. I wasn’t sold on the Kooples clothing anyway but this just puts me off. I understand the bad publicity is still publicity but to me, I don’t understand why anyone would buy anything that had been advertised by Pete Doherty. He isn’t attractive and looks rough as hell. It just devalues the brand that they would stoop to using someone like that. If they’d used him because he’d actually turned his life around, that I could understand.

    I don’t object to the use of Kate Moss in the same way. I objected when Rimmel didn’t drop her after those pictures surfaced but had she been dropped, gone off and got clean then they had decided to re-hire her then I would have been OK with that. We all make mistakes and part of me does feel slightly sorry for them as when I make a mistake I can move on from it whereas in the public eye, they will be forced to confront it time and time again. So I can’t say I mind the use of Kate these days.

    Although I do object to Rimmel’s current use of airbrushing. Kate looks weird and as for one of the recent ads with Zooey Deschanel… She looked like an alien!!

  6. Great points Jayne!

    I agree with everything you say about Pete and about The Kooples – I’ve never shopped there (personally thinking it’s over-priced) but definitely won’t be doing now.

    The Kate Moss effect seems to show no signs of slowing. Isn’t it right that she earned more in the year after that scandal than any year in her career previously?

    1. p.s. the Kate Moss for Rimmel lipsticks really are fantastic though, they last forever!

      1. I’m not fussed about how good the Rimmel products are, if it’s endorsed by Kate, I’m not interested. There are plenty of other fantastic lipsticks out there that I can live without them!

    2. I think that one of the reasons why Kate wasn’t dropped was because this year is 10 years of Kate Moss for Rimmel and they prob’ have that planned from the start of her contract, it would have cocked up their marketing plan.

  7. I love this post and I can’t for the life of me understand why The Kooples have decided to feature Pete Doherty in their ad campaign. Whatever you think of his musical abilities, he is not someone to aspire to and it’s such a shame that they’ve ditched their previous adverts in favour of this. Not a smart move.

    It really bothers me that people like Pete Doherty and Kate Moss get away with their exploits just because they’re Pete Doherty and Kate Moss.

  8. Not to be contraversial, but I like Pete D as a musician. I don’t think rock musicians have ever been squeeky clean and I don’t think they set themselves up as role models. If you had a ridiculously expensive addiction, wouldn’t you take a massive amount of money to stand around wearing clothes? I don’t think anyone looking at him would hold him up as a role model.

    It’s interesting really – because a relatively small group of people like your music, should you then be forced to become a role model to them? I wish he wasn’t a drug addict and could actually move on but I doubt he ever will. Obviously crime is crime and I don’t condone it, but in a way I just want to listen to some music I like without further demands on those making it.

    I’ve managed to successfully not become a crack addict, despite listening to them and many other drug addled bands over the years. It’s also interesting how many rock/pop stars and actors have been as bad or worse, but no one provokes as much bile as Pete, his life just looks like you say, a bit grubby, whilst many others who flaunt drug taking make it look like a positive lifestyle aspiration, which is what I think is really bad as it normalises drug use.

    The ‘fail’ as I see it is that he’s just not very current, I don’t think even at the height of his career he would have had mass enough appeal for such a campaign.

    Whereas Kate Moss – can’t stand her! She has no shame and should be called Teflon because nothing ever sticks! I really objct to her being all over the papers using drugs then a couple of years later all is forgiven and her lavish Cotswold wedding splashed all over every gossip rag. Crime does pay, kids! And yeah, way too much airbrushing on that photo.

    1. Hi Gemma, thanks so much for your comment. Sorry if it came across that I was condemning anyone who liked his music, it wasn’t about that. I flipping love rock music of all kinds, so don’t want to put down a whole genre of music. In fact the ‘drug addled’ bands and ones with dead lead singers tend to be best so I can’t put that down. Sad but true.

      With the role model thing, I’m not saying that everyone who likes them sees them as a role model, but, what I am saying is that if you are in the public eye and have young fans (of which Pete does) you should take some thought into your actions, as youngsters are more likely to be influenced by role models (good and bad) I also don’t think it helped that Pete is more famous for his antics than his music.

      I agree, he is certainly not right because he isn’t current, don’t think he’s been current for a long while! Very odd choice.

      Agreed on the Kate front of course!

  9. http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/may/06/the-kooples-paris-fashion?INTCMP=SRCH

    Interesting article about The Kooples here. Seems to me the brand is failing because its over priced and doesn’t appeal to the British sense of style which is more quirky / street than French style, so in desparation they have employed the ‘charms’ of Doherty to try to lend the brand the edge they think is required. Note that the founders of the brand believe his bad rep is the fault of the British press! Ohh la la!

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