Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just another cruising brand: Op is cool – says so right on the label.

Op also says it is “The Original California Lifestyle Brand.” When I realized that the brand on the swimsuit I bought at Walmart for the Panama Canal cruise comes from a familiar company, I felt, like, all mellow. Dude.

I closely non-resemble the brand demographic, representatives of which appear in the Op ad on this page. In fact, check out the Op brand site and you’ll see just how non-similar these happy youngsters are to moi.

That’s okay – there’s room for a lot of brands in the world. I’m just intrigued that Op is owned by Iconix Brands. The last time I wrote about one of this company’s brands, it was London Fog® trenchcoats.

This post’s about cool-dude-beachwear branding and I’m proud to have the chance to re-examine the brand-holder. Inconix bought the Op brand – Ocean Pacific – about four years ago for $54 million and has revived it rather nicely. But then, that’s what Iconix is famous for – being a licensing dynamo and all. The company has a whole bunch for great and busy retail marques, including the Joe Boxer®, Badgley Mischaka®, Mossimo® and Candie’s® brands – the current “Candie’s Girl” is Britney Spears.

The self-proclaimed Iconix biz-model is using licensing to generate predictable revenue streams (thanks to contractually guaranteed minimum royalty payments) combined with trendsetters in aggressive advertising and promotion. Good, bad or ugly, the beautiful people – Spears, Eva Longoria Parker, Madonna, etc. – do generate attention.

Iconix Brands also seems quite smart about keeping certain brands in strict channels and mindsets. Op is for Walmart. Mudd® apparel is available only at Kohl’s. Rocawear, per the website, “was established…off of the meteoric success of co-founder Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter…to fit the urban lifestyle and…street-savvy consumers.”

What happens in most all of the Iconix brand demographics hardly ever touches me and my life. And any suggestion that my Op swim trunks are too young for me will be met with knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud agreement.

For a marketer and advertiser, though, I applaud what Iconix Brands is doing at both wholesale and retail – you might want to look into just how brand-savvy the company really is. And cool or not, I’m running away to sea. Later, dudes…

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