Gary Cutlack writes…
So good old LG is moving its chocolate-coated design to home-based audio systems, no doubt hoping some of the kudos won by its classy phone line will rub off on its other products.
But would this work for other manufacturers? You might be a huge fan of the Motorola RAZR – so would you then buy an accompanying RAZR LCD TV? Or a RAZR kettle?
Are we all getting so style and gadget obsessed we’d buy anything that copies the design of something we already like?
And could this column sound any more like a monologue from Sex and the City?
Like everything bad in technology, I’m going to blame Mr Big – Sony – for this. PlayStation Portable was its semi-successful first attempt at bringing a popular brand into a slightly new world, and in Japan you can now buy Bravia-badged phones should you love your Bravia TV so much you want your other stuff to have the same logo on it.
BMW is making mobile phones and you’ve got overly expensive trouser company Prada doing the same.
That you can understand. If you’re Tom Cruise. Prestige brands making gadgets for rich people is a pretty obvious move, with style-obsessed losers easily parted from their money in exchange for a generic mobile phone with a fancy logo stuck on it.
I could go down to the local pound shop, buy up a pile of sink plungers, stick Prada logos on them and become an instant eBay millionaire by flogging them off to new-money label lovers. If I wasn’t busy enough selling pound shop goods on eBay for £1.50 already.
Sony TVs used to be a Sony, now they’re a Bravia. Bravia doesn’t exist. It’s just a clever name Sony’s invented to pin on products it wants perceived as a higher quality than its usual break-just-after-the-warranty-expires stuff, like when Toyota decided to start calling itself Lexus so it could sell cars to Americans for three times as much.
Luckily, I’m not fashion obsessed or rich enough to need logos over all my stuff. My TV is a Hyundai, because it was cheap and had all the right holes round the back.
My phone’s a Nokia, as that’s the one Vodafone last sent me for free when I phoned up pretending I wanted to cancel my contract.
My PC’s a Dell (cheap), my MP3 player’s a SanDisk (cheap), the cooker and fridge came with the flat and will only be replaced when they break – or in the case of the fridge, I could probably do without one and just use the broken one as a cupboard – plus should anything need replacing in future it’ll be replaced with whatever the good old Chinese are knocking out for the cheapest at the time.
Brand loyalty is an odd thing. As far as I can see it’s mainly for giving people something to boast about.
I can’t see this inter-product, name-tagging, brand-swapping business lasting. I mean, who would buy a phone made by a company that usually specialises in computers and MP3 players?
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