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    Survey Reveals Best, Worst Brand Extensions

    NEW YORK - Curves carved a nice niche, but Hooters fell flat, according to a survey of branding experts classifying brand extensions as winners or losers.

    NEW YORK - Curves carved a nice niche, but Hooters fell flat, according to a survey of branding experts classifying brand extensions as winners or losers.

    Consultancy TippingSprung's fourth annual survey of brand extensions, produced in collaboration with marketing newsweekly Brandweek, uncovered which brand extensions are considered by branding and marketing profressionals to be the most compelling and logical, and which are weakest and have the greatest potential to dilute the brand.

    The experts also picked the key trends in brand extensions.

    "This year we've seen many brand owners looking to extend their brands in more ways than ever," said TippingSprung president Martyn Tipping, one of the survey's authors, in a statement. "This survey was developed to help identify which are most likely to strengthen a brand and which might end up on the ever-growing roster of failed extensions."

    Among the top brand extensions chosen by the survey's 785 respondents were Curves cereal, voted best food extension with 34.3 percent of the vote. Coming in a distant second was Entenmann's coffee, followed by Russell Stover cookie dough. Huggies Little Swimmers sunscreen came in first in the "best extension for the kids" category, at 45.5 percent.

    The most questionable food extensions were Hooters Energy Drink, which captured 32.5 percent of negative votes, followed by Bumble Bee Chicken at 21.9 percent and Trump Steaks at 21.1 percent.

    In the crowded field of celebrity wine and spirits extensions, Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello received a resounding "thumbs down" (69.7 percent), while Newman's Own wine garnered a big "thumbs up" from 75.3 percent of those polled.

    The trends the survey revealed included:
    --Nonprofit growth. When nonprofits lend their names to brand extensions that fit well with their organizational mission and values, they can build brand recognition and significant revenue.
    --Healthy eating. As consumers continue to request healthier food and beverage choices, expect to see brands with strong wellness backgrounds entering the food category. As a countertrend, there may also be more comfort-eating brand extensions.
    --Pet power. Pets are still a hot category in brand extensions, but the pet extensions that seem to be most successful are service-related, such as insurance or lodging, rather than product-driven, so there will likely be further brand extension in pet-related services.

    The 2007 survey was sent to 25,000 branding and marketing professionals. Respondents came from such companies as Sara Lee, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, PepsiCo, and Target.

    The survey was sent in the last week of November 2007, and results were collected until Dec. 3, 2007.

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