After plowing through too many stores this Christmas season, it has become apparent that long established names and trademarks mean very little. Murano glassware is made in China ,as is Waterford crystal ,as is Spode china ,as is " Irish" linen ,as is Cuisinart cookware. This to me seems the height of folly ,for customers may be gulled for a short time ,but then it becomes quite apparent that there is really nothing special in the name attached to the product ,and any cachet attached to the product evaporates --- something that represents a real economic loss.
Remember the Cadillac Cimarron? Cadillac took what was essentially a Chevy Cavalier, a terrible car, and christened it the Cadillac Cimarron despite the fact that the car remained a Chevy in all important particulars. By marketing sleight of hand and a few cosmetic changes, GM hoped to make buckets of money. But all of the hoopla that Madison Avenue could provide could not turn a sow's ear into a silk purse ,and the car nearly sank the Cadillac Division. Reputations are hard to earn ,but easy to lose. Seemingly this lesson would be taught in business schools.
Names should mean something. Trademarks should mean something. Consumers really expect more than an elegant package and a glitzy name. It is cold comfort that the phenomenon is international--- yet another indication that globalism is nothing more than a race to the bottom.Mark Twain named the late nineteenth century the Gilded Age. What shall we call this age of particleboard Chippendales?
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