Quick note on co-branding
Just a quickie: Coming down with a sore throat, I just bought these liquorice pastils with packaging designed by a Danish fashion brand:
An obvious excercise in co-branding (think Lagerfeld for H&M, Nike + iPod sports kit etc.) this made me ponder if museums could also think along these lines when trying to attract the attention of their audience. Without jeopardising their neutrality and cultural credentials, of course.
If so, who would be attractive collaboration partners for the museums? What would make a good vehicle for a specific museum like, say, Designmuseum Danmark? And what would the museum have to offer in return? When would it be cool to do a product with a museum add-on?
Or is this simply what’s already happening in the museum gift shops with items such as special edition Liberty print totebags at the V&A (which I imagine is not a wild guess)?
Careful what you wish for. Just at few days after writing this post a visit to a children’s workshop at the National Museum turned out to be a very bad experience of co-branding.
Overall the workshop was fine, inviting children to make their own passports and then visit a sample of European nations to learn about their contribution to the region and world culture.
But whereas Russia was represented by the arts in the form of a recording of Peter and the Wolf; Greece told the story of democracy and asked the children to take part in a poll, and Germany boasted a Gutenberg-style printing press; England was represented by – wellies.
What about the knights of the round table, Shakespeare, the industrial revolution or the British Empire? Many stories would have been more illustrous than this one, even if it may have had a tenuous link to colonisation and serve as a cheeky comment on the clichés of the British Isles.
But the real reason was that this part of the workshop was a drawing competition set up by a producer of wellies. At least they weren’t even really attempting to hide that fact, but really this was substandard for a supposedly educational workshop on the history and culture of Europe.
As for the branding it didn’t do either of the parties any good, as we were disappointed by the museum (to the point of considering writing a letter of complaint), and that particular brand og wellies is now tainted in our view.