The Big Hurt: This week in brand synergy

Blige, Bieber, and Sears connect the dots
By DAVID THORPE  |  August 10, 2010

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Uh oh, it appears I don't have anything important to make fun of — I was really counting on a member of Aerosmith's dying right before my deadline or something, but no such luck. Let's mine the press-release pile for some fresh squareness:

Mary J. Blige shatters prestige-fragrance records
We know Mary J. Blige sings her heart out and triumphs over adversity and stuff, but that's old news — in 2010, she's killing it in the prestige-fragrance game. Her autobiographical scent, "My Life," debuted July 31 on the Home Shopping Network and sold 60,000 units in the first six hours — if I'm doing my math right, that's 60,000 units per six hours!

"We were thrilled that Mary's inspiring story, her character, and, ultimately, her fragrance drew such an enthusiastic response," said HSN's CEO. That's why Mary's such a role model — a lot of people have been through depression and addiction, but how many of them have come out the other side with a truly laudable odor? I haven't been through half as much shit as Mary has, and I can't remember the last time my personal aroma drew an "enthusiastic response."

I guess that's why her perfume is so inspiring: one whiff of its pungent bouquet and we're right there in her world. "Consumers want to connect, believe, and immerse themselves in the experience. They want to see themselves fit into the story," said some business dude. "Mary delivered herself in the purest form outside of her lyrics." When it comes to pure forms of expression, you wouldn't think a fragrance could trump Mary J. Blige's soulful vocals, but now they've been bumped down to third place, behind words and smell.

HarperCollins acquires Justin Bieber's official illustrated memoir
Perfect! My coffee table has been looking pretty bare ever since I destroyed my Robert Mapplethorpe volume in a fit of erotic rage:

"HarperCollins announced today the acquisition of the official illustrated memoir from multi-platinum-selling superstar Justin Bieber. JUSTIN BIEBER: FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER: MY STORY will reveal Justin's amazing journey to superstardom."

The press release goes on to summarize Bieber's entire amazing journey to superstardom. That's good for about two paragraphs — they can probably milk it for six pages or so if they really fuck with the kerning.

Sears celebrates style & music with the introduction of Now + Here
I guess Sears is still trying to shake its image as a purveyor of tractor parts and gingham dresses, because the folks there are getting super balls-to-the-wall fresh to death in this press release. If you thought they weren't hep to the youth jive, think again:

"Just in time for the back-to-school shopping season, Sears is opening Now + Here, a fast fashion destination for juniors and young men. The new fashion destinations will feature the must-have trends for fall that young shoppers want like Battle Gear, Girly Grunge, Biker Chic, and Sweet Dreams."

I guess the tragic thing about being a Sears executive is that you just have no idea — you have to trust some PR firm to tell you what the hip new trends are (Battle Gear?), because how the hell are you going to figure out what's cool? You're 105 years old, and you just want to sell overalls and calf-birthing apparatus to ranchers, but that's not how business works anymore.

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  Topics: Big Hurt , Entertainment, Music, Mary J. Blige,  More more >
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