Fast Company

Brand (Con)Fusion

Bob Dylan once said the President of the United States sometimes has to stand naked. Now the iconic troubadour is selling push-up bras and garter belts for Victoria's Secret. Has he changed his tune?

Back in November, FC staffer Danielle Sacks took a closer look at the vaguely sad Gap-Madonna alliance. Sacks's take: Madonna was looking desperate. Fast-forward six months to this past Monday's piece on Slate examining the latest retail rock star, Bob Dylan.

Now, if Madonna's hook-up with the Gap left you wondering why a "material girl" famous for quick costume changes and outrageous style was shucking mainstream duds like khakis and pocket tees, then the latest addition to Dylan's resume will really have you questioning branding partnerships. Goateed and squinting, that's Dylan in the latest round of Victoria Secret ads, looking as out-of-place as, well, a grungy old folk singer amidst fields of glamourous pastel silk.

But in the wake of Victoria Secret's conservative retreat from their wildly successful TV special (perhaps in light of a recent swell in media conservatism following Janet Jackson's Super Bowl gaffe), where does hiring an aging radical rocker position a panties brand? Indeed. Dylan was right. "People are crazy, and times are strange."

Odd spokespeople? Strange bedfellows? Send me your worst branding alliances... or add a comment. I'll post again with a top ten list!

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1 Comments

  • Philip Reichert

    For me, the underlying theme here is to ensure that your company (and/or product) is endorsed by somebody of the same (1) moral standards, (2) ethical principles, and (3) brand awareness.

    Otherwise you lose control over your trademark.