ABC Retailing

From Denimology I see that ABC has gone into the business of apparel retailing. They’re selling clothes and accessories worn by the actors in Desperate Housewives. It’s said that media runs our lives, will it now be dressing us too? What happens if this retail model is successful? Will ABC become the next generation of push manufacturers? If so, will ABC start designing their own lines and pepper their media offerings with their own apparel? Why do I find this so amusing? What will they sell next? Cars, computers and groceries? They’re already selling furniture.

Amusement aside, I think it’s an interesting new revenue stream for media companies. Clever too.

Related:
ABC Retailing pt.1
ABC Retailing pt.2
ABC Retailing pt.3
ABC Retailing pt.4

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37 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    I guess this news is not at all surprising given the recent and growing predatory marketing activities of all the big brand machines who have atempted to co-op our identities, our styles, and our ideas and turn them into brand food. Disney recently completed an entire living community, Nike just finished building thier first cruise ship, Tommy Hilfiger is now in the music business with their company behind the Rolling Stones tour. Every stadium and amphitheatre is now named after a large corporation. It’s becoming laughable but, I smell change in the air.

    Naomi Klein in her book “No Logo” predicts it will get worse before it gets better. Then, indie will rule again as a generational revolution will have us turning our backs on world-wide brands who are attempting to co-op every part of our life. Viva le Revolution. And get ready, because timing…is every thing.

  2. Irv says:

    Sometimes I just don’t get it. Here is a network with a top rated show. Are they selling these clothes to further expose and drive up the program’s popularity ? I’m not sure. It would appear they want a piece of the action retailwise, as they give credit to the garments originators. Admitting loyalty as a diehard “junkie” of the show is one thing. Wanting to emulate a character’s “look” through dressing like them is insane. If anyone thinks purchasing clothing for this purpose is a normal thing, get a life. The network should also see shame in this greedy attempt at clothing retail.

  3. christy fisher says:

    I think that TV is losing profits by the busload..especially ABC, NBC, and CBS with the advent of cable/satellite, etc.
    I find it interesting that they are jumping on the apparel bandwagon as a way to make $$$…LOL!!!!
    Graphic T shirts, hoodies, and jeans.. next they’ll have some rapper pushing the nightly news..
    ..entertaining..perhaps..
    But I see the apparel industry being gobbled up and homoginized by the minute.. look at Liz Claiborne, for example, building a portfolio of Juicy, C and C, Sigrid, etc. etc.. all under the same huge umbrella..
    This too is “predatory marketing”.
    Smart financial moves, perhaps, but at what price? The styles are becoming more and more dumbed down (the Liz umbrella does not allow the designers in their stable ‘free rein’..all designs must meet Liz’s criteria or they are thrown out.
    I agree with Jeff..
    It will get worse.. then it will totally shift.
    Indies will rule.
    Viva Indies!

  4. Irv says:

    I think we know why the networks are loosing huge $$$’s. Just glance at a TV Guide. Perhaps they see some of the capital QVC takes in and want in as well. Why not use those late night slots to run infomercials on their own stations to promote apparel lines from each of their shows. Hey , I’d love to get ahold of one of those CSI vests. American Idol Apparel? Law and Order, Season 12 Collection ? Actors will find a way to get a piece of the apparel action too, underpaid as they are.

  5. Esther says:

    I guess costume designers will be moving closer to the realm of fashion designers. The costume designers I know would rather die, but if the network wants to advertise the latest ABC Desparate Housewives fashion line (try fitting that on a garment label!), they will have to figure out how to wrap a runway show around drama. Not a job I would envy!

  6. andrea says:

    you know what ABC really stands for?…already been chewed. Yuck.

    I personally think that someone else’s dirt is not a “value added” feature. Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.

  7. Mike C says:

    This too is “predatory marketing”.

    Ok, that’s twice in this thread that the phrase has come up.

    I’m not trying to be purposefully dense here, but I have no idea what “predatory marketing” is. Can someone define it and enlighten me?

  8. Kathleen says:

    When I think of predatory marketing, the first image that comes to mind is advertising to children. This site brings up another example, that of a casino running a promotion for you to cash your paycheck there. Another type of predatory marketing is here. It seems to be hard to sum up easily.

    I just don’t get people who are so media focused that they’d allow something like a TV show (I’ve never seen it) to influence their buying decisions. I just don’t understand it. Funny, I’ll never look at TV shows again in the same way. The wave of the future seems to be that the TV shows will just become another home shopping network. What an absurd world.

  9. Andrea Baker says:

    Mike:

    I think the definition of predatory marketing is any marketing campaign that uses selacious (great word) tactics to gain market share….casinos are a great example…they target low income desparate people that NEED to win.

    Another example would be McDonalds a few years ago donating books to schools and having them serve mcdonald’s lunches (it was something that briefly caught my attention on a 60 minutes years ago..or some quasi news program)

    The differences between a predatory campaign and a legit campaign really are only differentiated by intent. The purpose of marketing is to get people to spend their money on your stuff…but who’s money are you getting? Is the act of buying your product hurting or helping that customer? ABC’s campaign to sell previously worn clothing rides the line in my opinion. Personally, I feel that the celebrity gravy train needs to end. On large Hollywood is pretty gross and the decadent “you too can have it all” lifestyle is unrealistic and people focus so much on wanting to get close to that (as if it’s a marker of real success) that they don’t value the real accomplishments and successes in their own lives.

  10. Mike C says:

    ABC’s campaign to sell previously worn clothing rides the line in my opinion.

    ???

    They aren’t setting up a celebrity second hand store. They are selling the *styles* that the actors wear on the show. Not that actual used clothing.

    If you like the Brazillian style workout cami by Body Language that Gabrielle wore in some episode, you can buy one of your very own on the ABC online store for $42. Personally, I think Gabrielle would look better in belted yoga pants and a 3/4 length cami top from our line, but I suppose I’m biased.

    Maybe I’m the only one, but I don’t see any portents of doom here. If someone sees something on an actor that they like, more power to ABC for making it easy to find and buy. As far as the motivations of the buyer – that’s really none of my business. I trust that they are adults capable of making their own judgements and decisions about what to put on their body and what to do with their money.

    Of course, I think ABC has to tread carefully here. They run the risk of alienating their viewers if the shows become too product-placement oriented. If you distract viewers from the immersion of the show, then you may find fewer viewers to entice advertisers with.

  11. christy fisher says:

    It’s all about product placement in the media.. I remember when movies started *placing* things like a can of Coke on a desk in a movie. Coke paid to have their can placed on that desk. I guess they figure some people drank Coke because “Agent Whatever” drank Coke in the movie.
    Whether g-strings or soda pop.. the media is just one big ole advertisement for something every minute of every day..
    hmmmm..I wonder who is making all of those art-y necklaces for Nancy Grace….

  12. Irv says:

    I think ABC got suckered into doing clothing by some Internet fulfillment company that does all the groundwork and will leave it up to the network to provide exposure for this new venture.
    The fulfillment company can’t do it without ABC and vice versa. Just another profit and loss center for them. Kind of tasteless if you ask me.
    Like McDonalds selling pizza and doughnuts. (which they did) .
    I hear that Eva Longoria hangs out in San Antonio ,Mike. She would make a smokin’ spokesperson for your line. You are definitely in their league apparelwise.

  13. Judith says:

    I smell money!!! This is what its all about and Liz Claiborne owns 26 companys. Over a yr ago I told my dad to buy stock in Liz it was $24 now it is around $37. Unfortunely he sold it at $33 he wished he had not. He did make a profit tho. I think its getting crazy out there. Its like they have to think of something new to stay on top or top each other.

  14. Jeff says:

    Pure Predatory marketing is when a brand franchise goes outside of their own industry and attempts to associate its name with a part of culture that they had no previous involvement in creating, just because the have the cash reserves to try and pull this on us. It’s been around a long time, Like Cadillac sponsoring a major PGA golf tournament. This type is harmless. However, in the boardrooms of superbrands, they sit around and try to figure how they can suck market share, and profits, out of an industry they have no real experience in, just by virtue of its name.

    Liz Claiborne acquiring 26 companies is more consolidation than predatory. Selling your company to an industry giant in not necessarily a bad thing. It’s when Claiborne acquires, say, Verizon, this is predatory.

    Just follow any company in entertainment, media or retail, you will see them desperately attempting to franschise other parts of culture. i.e., Starbucks was pure coffee now they are getting into the music business, Amazon was pure books, now they are a huge clothing retailer on-line. Hilfiger’s print ads for the Stones tour featured a HUGE image of their marks and symbols but a little tiny image and mention of the Stones! Like we are now supposed to look to THEM for whats happening in the music world. Nice try. It’s insulting and is now beginning to back-fire. Anybody been on the Nike cruise ship? If they had their way, they would just rather put the swoosh on the dollar bill.

    These are acts of desperation to appease shareholder profits. Read Clayton Christensens book “The Innovators Dilemma” and you will discover that “never before have the incumbents been more vulnerable.” A small company, even an individual, can enter their backyards with a little innovation and create market space. They aren’t even watching, nor can they respond quickly. The only thing they can do, once you are making money, is buy you out. And you can resist! Bottom line: Opportunity abounds.

  15. Irv says:

    I think this huge grab at market share at whatever cost will eventually backfire. Something to do with the “change” Jeff mentioned in an earlier post.
    Have I any desire to go on the NIKE cruise ship ? Not at all. In apparel circles, their famous logo is referred to as the “Swooshtika”. They are quickly wearing out their welcome at all levels. Most know the ending to the original Third Reich.

  16. Mike C says:

    Pure Predatory marketing is when a brand franchise goes outside of their own industry and attempts to associate its name with a part of culture that they had no previous involvement in creating, just because the have the cash reserves to try and pull this on us.

    Ahh, if this is the definition of “predatory” then I’m all for it. Why should incumbant brands in a space be immune from competition from without? If Nike builds a better cruise experience, then Carnival had better step up to the plate or risk losing market share.

    They are welcome to pull this on me every day of the week.

  17. Miracle says:

    I looked at the link when Kathleen first posted it, and if you look, that portion of the website is actually run by shopthescene.com, which is a site specializing in offering either apparel worn on a show, or promotional apparel for a show. Not all of the items are even fulfilled by that company, some links go directly to online retailers like Nordstrom.

    This is a very interesting concept because most people in the business of making the type of apparel that can be worn on a high visibility, trend inspiring show, know that product placement on the right television show can do wonders for a brand.

    Think Sex and The City and Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, or any other name dropped on that show, including an entire episode focusing on Samantha’s efforts to acquire the coveted Hermes Birkin bag.

    Desparate Housewives was hailed as the next SATC, with certain brands getting an incredible boost from their exposure on the show, especially the Splendid tees and True Religion jeans Teri Hatcher wears.

    Now the missing link was that there really was no way for brands to link up with the show, you’d have to recognize the item to know what it was. Back when Friends was on the air, the network would get flooded with calls to identify what Jennifer Anniston, or any other star, wore, and I believe that NBC was one of the early pioneers of providing that information online.

    What I don’t understand is why DEs have such a negative and nasty attitude about situations like this. I, for one, am trying to figure out how to get my piece of the pie and make money.

  18. Miracle says:

    Wanting to emulate a character’s “look” through dressing like them is insane. If anyone thinks purchasing clothing for this purpose is a normal thing, get a life.

    I think that sometimes people should just admit that some things are not in their frame of reference, instead of being incredibly insulting about a difference of opinion. Shows like Desparate Housewives, The OC, Will & Grace, among others, are shows with characters that create trends and boost retail sales when wearing a product. I am sure that Canada may not be as much of a celebrity obsessed culture as many areas of the US, but purchasing clothing that a celebrity wears is a very common thing here in the states and one of the clever ways small DEs can get on the map.

    I guess what I really want to say, if I get straight to it is this:

    Why can’t you just respect differences instead of insulting the way others do business? You’ve done this time and time again to different industries, and different people, on this site. If it’s not your industry, fine, if it’s not what people do in Canda, fine, if your age and gender give you a different perspective, fine, but what’s up with being so negative and insulting towards other business models?

  19. christy fisher says:

    Miracle..I think alot of DEs are just sick and tired of logo and trend driven mass merchandise and really would like to see more interesting designs coming out than camis, jeans, tees etc.
    The “young LA scene look” has perhaps crested, and what you are seeing is a bit of backlash from DEs who are ready to have the whole “scene” move on into some more interesting territory. “Fashion” for the past few years has focussed more on the money making/corporate logo (this includes designer logos) aspect and less on interesting new items.
    I have never seen Desperate Housewives..it doesn’t appeal to me from the few advertising snippets and magazine articles I have read.
    I did watch Sex an the City and enjoyed the way Pat Fields managed some new tricks with looks (although owning a pair of Manolos or Choos doesn’t appeal to me either..not my lifestyle.)
    From what I see on the spreads for DH, there is no Pat Fields involved..and True Religion jeans are so ho-hum to most designers (oh, more denim..puleeze..)..or another Tee..
    IMHO, I think the “looks” are tired…and if they put some honest to gosh great DESIGNS on some of those gals, I’ll bet they could boost the entire industry…(but the whole premise of the show does not warrant that ..)
    As far as marketing.. corporations will always find a way to exploit a trend and make some bucks- then run it into the ground and step on it until the trend is in every Walmart.
    It’s the American way.
    :-0
    It’s fast food : clothing that is only “in style” for 6 weeks- then thrown away-, the attitude that one is “uncool” if they aren’t wearing the “latest thing from Hollywood” is what America needs to “get over” before they can really step up to the plate in the design arena and have fashion come up to the level of some of the other parts of the world..where interesting and good design is appreciated and not just cranked out to the masses.

    I understand you want to retail the heck out of it and “get your piece of the pie”..
    That’s normal. That’s why “the powers that be” created retailers.
    ..and the “powers that be” also created designers..who are more turned on by uniqueness than by mass production.
    Thank Goodness we have each other..
    ;-)

    What I think is way more exciting in both retail and on TV is when something catches my eye from someone that I have NEVER HEARD OF.. that is a bit out of the “norm” and interesting.
    It makes me sit up and take notice.
    SATC did that on occasion.
    They went beyond “branding” and got into some interesting mixes.
    If I discover DH starts using unknown designers, etc..then they will get me grabbing for the remote.

  20. Miracle says:

    If I discover DH starts using unknown designers

    They do and they have since the beginning…

    The thing is the unknowns don’t often know how to leverage their exposure to get press so that they become known.

    See, I understand what you are saying… but the reality is, certain areas are really a tees and jeans lifestyle and so are certain characters. To contrast with SATC, it was very much a metropolital NY downtown girl, fashionista type of cast. DH is a group of suburban housweives, should they be prancing around in high end fashion to clean their garages and plant their petunias?

    We can talk about what designers want to see and we can talk about what consumers want to wear— every day. Yes, certain unique items are interesting, exciting, and get the blood boiling, but they are also those wear once every now and then type of things.

    Jeans and tees and camis is very much an every day type of thing and this is why it’s all over the place. It’s become a popular industry becuase, quite frankly, the girls who work at the local Trader Joes can wear their True Religions to work (and do), school, and then dress it up for the evening.

    Can you say that about most of the better fashion? It’s beautiful, but it’s not as flexible.

    Interestingly enough, I’m actually fascinated with the business model and think that DEs who consider themselves to be of a “higher caliber” can learn a lot from it. There are people who design out of creativity and there are people who want to make money, some are good at both.

    I won’t begrudge either.

    Fashion has focused on money making items becuase fashion, at the end of the day, is driven by retail sales and if it’s not moving, and you’re not Versace (or any other such designer of high regard), nobody really can stock it just becuase it’s “interesting.”

    I mean we can sit here and say we’re tired of the C&C tee, or Juicy track suit, or True Religion boring jeans… But at the end of the day, how well does it perform at the retail level?

    I get the whole concept of designers who are designers, but I don’t like the disrespect of those who are commercial and product driven.

    Sure America can step up to the plate and kick up the fashion and produce interesting, new, refreshing design, that we can appreciate.

    And we can appreciate it all over the pages of Vogue and InStle because the “masses” can’t wear it anywhere.

    The funny thing is that those things which you find “boring” or “ho hum” (i.e. premium denim and high end tees) are really because you don’t like them or wear them, it’s the perspective of the non-consumer. You talk to most women who buy premium denim and tees and they can talk about why they love it and why they live in it. IOW, the target market and consumer doesn’t find it boring at all, it’s mostly other DEs who believe thier ideas are better or more interesting or thier skill is of a higher caliber.

    It’s design snobbery.

  21. christy fisher says:

    I disagree. I do not think of it as a snobbery on the part of designers. What I think is disappointing is that the general population of America can be led around like sheep.
    Which brings us back to the original topic..
    Corporate mass marketing.

    I am glad to hear that DH features some unknown designers.. I will have to catch the credits someday and see who.

  22. Big Irv says:

    “Why can’t you just respect differences instead of insulting the way others do business? You’ve done this time and time again to different industries, and different people, on this site. If it’s not your industry, fine, if it’s not what people do in Canda, fine, if your age and gender give you a different perspective, fine, but what’s up with being so negative and insulting towards other business models?”

    Miracle…I won’t be goaded into a “flamewar”, although I felt I should at least reply to a few of your comments. If you feel some of my comments are negative and insulting perhaps you should send me a PM and you can voice your displeasure that way.I will certainly consider and discuss them seriously.
    You may want to leave Canada out of this. We too get identical programing to that in the US, and are exposed to identical media exposure and marketing methods, whether it be apparel or cruise vacations.
    You obviously are in support of ABC getting in on the apparel market. I personally think it is wrong. I am sure many others share my sentiments.I think that is why the topic was posted. To discuss it, both the good and the bad.
    All of a sudden, NIKE is mentioned and becomes a focal point. Like ABC, I believe NIKE’s involvement in the cruise business is not right either. I say this because I have witnessed the carnage they leave in their quest for dominance in the apparel industry, and I’m sure they won’t change their business ideology on the high seas either.

    “What I don’t understand is why DEs have such a negative and nasty attitude about situations like this. I, for one, am trying to figure out how to get my piece of the pie and make money.”

    Posted by: Miracle at April 1, 2006 01:49 PM

    I think alot of DE’s are fed up with the hype and oversaturation that the conglomerates impose on us. Many I talk to are discouraged and dismayed that we seem to have abandoned quality and value for the dollar in exchange surreal images that multimillion dollar ad campaigns throttle us with.
    I think what you are seeing is not professional jealousy, but a new attitude that allows us to voice our disapproval, whether it be using harsh, critical words in blog comments or simply not patronizing a particular brand, such as GAP. Had you considered that the consumer, specifically a DE consumer may have had enough and desires changes? I think some new DE’s think they can make a difference and should have the right to think that way. This blog we contribute to certainly gives them encouragement to do so.
    I think most are looking for a piece of the pie,and need to figure out how to do so,under a new set of methods and guidelines. I don’t think they like the present ones.
    Have a good afternoon.

  23. Miracle says:

    You obviously are in support of ABC getting in on the apparel market.

    They are not getting in on the apparel market, they are merely providing the portal for viewers to find the clothing worn on the show. There are many websites doing just that and it only makes sense for the network to do it. What I found insulting about the comments is that they weren’t based in actually looking at what was being done, but people took one look and lashed out insults, mainly not even knowing what they were talking about.

    Had you considered that the consumer, specifically a DE consumer may have had enough and desires changes?

    As a retailer, I don’t hear consumers complain about mass marketing and their disapproval of large brands. They know what’s out there, and they are not forced into buying it. Those who look for the unique can find it, if they are willing to pay the price that DEs must command. When I go to Market Week, MAGIC, or any other show, there is never a shortage of DEs or innovative merchandise, these shows turn applicants away.

    And retailers are always on the prowl for what’s new and unique.

    But at the end of the day, it’s what’s SELLING that gets reordered. And DEs have to work, moreso than anybody else, to create consumer demand for their line, and product placement is merely one way of doing it.

  24. Alison Cummins says:

    I find this whole thread fascinating and I’m learning a lot. Flaming seems unnecessary but is perhaps understandable from someone who isn’t feeling heard.

    I think people need to be clear about what they mean by “wrong.” There is “wrong” as in “morally culpable” and “wrong” as in “stupid dumb mistake.”

    RE stupid dumb mistakes:

    As a corporate employee I can say with certainty that working for an organisation run by people working for stock options, people who are interested primarily in having the stock value go up and down as much as possible so that they can redeem their options based on “profit” (the difference between the lowest price the stock has had in the last X years and the highest price it has had)… sucks. “Sucks” as in “sucking chest wound.” The company itself is not built with attention to making long-term sense, just in temporarily building enough stock value that someone can sell it for a profit before they bail.

    The discussion of the Gap’s problems in an earlier thread identified shoddy, inconsistent clothing as the source of its current woes, which in turn was brought in when stockholders insisted the company bring in ever more revenue for them. So while Mike C’s point is well taken – that if they do a good job more power to them – very often the opposite happens. Greed can kill the goose that lays the golden egg as often as it nutures it.

    RE morally culpable:

    Then there’s the “more power to them” issue. Some people feel that if a company can make a profit selling to consumers then it’s doing something right and should be able to take over the world if it can. Other people feel that a balance needs to be maintained between corporate interest and public interest – because no, they are *not* always the same thing. For instance, our food supply is heavily regulated. Milk must meet certain standards. It may *not* be watered down, dirty and whitened with chalk, the way it used to be before these abuses led to regulation.

    Now clothing and cruise ships are not crucial to anyone’s health the way wholesome milk for infants is. So there will always be dialogue, dispute, heated wars and (yes) flaming about where the line should be drawn. This, I believe, is extremely healthy.

    Ok, done with “wrong.” On to “correct.”

    I can’t tell exactly what ABC is doing. Denimology says they simply list the retailers that carry the items, but it’s a little more than that. It seems to me they’re doing what Amazon does and taking orders that are then filled by wholesalers. I can see perils here, certainly (there are a grand total of seven retail chains being promoted, including Benjamin Moore). It’s also true that advertising, the traditional revenue stream of broadcasters, has become extremely problematic since videos and DVDs became commonly available and especially since the advent of Tivo. I mean, realistically, what’s a broadcaster to do?

    Finally, I think Miracle’s point about the interests of DEs and reatailers diverging is potentially very generative and deserves a blog entry of its own.

    There. Now I’m going to bed.

  25. Eric H says:

    2 observations:

    First, the fact that someone big is entering another market does not guarantee success. Sometimes they flame out in a big way. Remember the Apple Newton? It’s hard to think of another example because we tend to forget the failures. And when they achieve success, we don’t necessarily think of that as a bad thing – remember the Apple iPod and iTunes? The former seems to have decimated Sony Walkman sales, while the latter has arguably helped to stem the illegal download tide while helping the artists. Nobody seems to be complaining that a computer company crossed over.

    Second, let’s remember that ABC’s main line is to create popular shows … and for years, everyone else cashed in on it. Go on, admit it, you or one of your friends owned a shirt in the 70s that said, “Aaaaayyyyy” or “Sit On It!”. Why shouldn’t they get a share of something they created?

    Personally, I find commercials incredibly distracting. Anyone see “Signs” the other night? The commercials destroyed the pace. There are three ways I can think of to pay for TV: the NPR way (pledge drives, AKA “extortion”*), the HBO way (subscription, of which PPV is a variant), and commercials. Perhaps this is a new way? I don’t think so; I think it is just a new way to mix the public “bads” (commercials) in with the goods (shows).

    I for one would like to see a return to what I consider to be a more honest, realist form, like they did it in old Hollywood: simply make the product placement part of the entertainment. Consumers are more savvy now. Remember how they placed Doritos in Wayne’s World? It was funny, and they didn’t have to eat chips out of a bag that said “Chips” on it, or keep hiding the brand of beer. Look at how sports do it: I don’t feel compelled to drink the swill they advertise even though you can see MGD or Coors or Bud Light in nearly every shot. The separation in prime time is an illusion. Kids programming, I’ll admit, is a different case, but we’re talking about DH, not Spongebob.

    * Anyone heard the story about the radio station that raised money by threatening to play “Achy Breaky Heart” continuously until they hit the goal? Now that is extortion!

  26. Mike C says:

    As a corporate employee I can say with certainty that working for an organisation run by people working for stock options, people who are interested primarily in having the stock value go up and down as much as possible so that they can redeem their options based on “profit” (the difference between the lowest price the stock has had in the last X years and the highest price it has had)… sucks. “Sucks” as in “sucking chest wound.” The company itself is not built with attention to making long-term sense, just in temporarily building enough stock value that someone can sell it for a profit before they bail.

    Yes, it sucks to work for bad management.

    Yes, stock options provide great moral hazard to make stupid decisions. (FWIW, stock options gained in popularity at least in part because of idiotic populist government regulation and bizarre accounting treatment.)

    But, other than profits, how should they be measuring results?

  27. Mike C says:

    What I think is disappointing is that the general population of America can be led around like sheep.
    Which brings us back to the original topic..
    Corporate mass marketing.

    US population is closing in on 300 million. That’s a lot of sheep. Of course, I’m not sure that “doesn’t buy and like what *I* think that they should buy and like” is the dictionary definition of sheep.

    Marketing dollars follow those sheep, they don’t lead them around.

  28. Irv says:

    “They are not getting in on the apparel market, they are merely providing the portal for viewers to find the clothing worn on the show”

    I disagree. We are not talking t-shirts and souvenir items that all shows have had for years. As I mentioned in my earlier post, they have partnered with a company, ( perhaps improperly identified as a fulfillment company )and are making all the clothing styles worn onscreen for sale. That in my opinion, is getting in on the game. I am sure they aren’t providing this “portal” for free. A hefty licensing fee or a fat percentage of the sale motivates them to do so. Shameless cash grab.
    I think why many people had such a reaction to this little bit was simple. The perceived greed factor shown by ABC is just another episode from a large corporation to milk revenue from an area of which many feel they have no right to be in. This is way more than selling “Fonzie” or “Sit on it” t-shirts.
    Quick question to Miracle. Do you retail any items or brands featured on Desparate Housewives ?

  29. Alison Cummins says:

    Profits can be measured in different ways. What you can make by flipping stock options is a pretty silly way.

    Dividends are better: they are based on what you can skim off the top of a company’s actual revenues and are only worth something if you actually keep the stock. So the payoff for the stockholder is in keeping the company viable long-term.

    Factoring in the long-term cost of non-renewable resources would be an even better way… if we could figure out how to do it.

    (Non-fashion-related illustration: Right now the price of cod only reflects the financial output of whoever caught it. Cod has been fished to commercial extinction. This is a direct result of competition and a short-sighted way of calculating profit. If you know there are trawlers out there who are fishing the cod to extinction, you had better put your own trawler on the water so you can fish them to extinction first. If the cod are going to be extinct anyway, and the profits are going to go to somebody, it might as well be to you, right?)

    I’m absolutely not against profit. I happen to be for it: otherwise I wouldn’t be interested in this forum for entrepreneurs. It’s just that profits are only one form of good and they are secured within an overall context. The context can be manipulated by different forces in different ways. To go back to the (non-fashion-related) example of milk, changing the regulatory context *allowed* consumers to vote with their dollars. Now they can choose certified or pasteurised; organic, filtered or dirt-cheap; plain or calcium-fortified; skim, 1%, 2% or fattening. They know that whatever they choose it’s going to be safe to drink. They can go for the cheapest milk they can find: it’s going to be safe. If you don’t know if it’s going to be safe, you might hesitate to buy the cheap stuff. You might only give your kids milk when you go out to the country and can get it directly from farmers you know personally. And guess what – dairy producers are still making profits. (Well, dairy farmers might argue. But this is a fashion forum, not an agricultural one, so I’ll stop there.)

    Similar cost/benefit problems arise with all aspects of textile production; it’s just that comparing costs and benefits gets way more complicated and completely beyond my scope.

    Like I said, figuring out how this could be done gets to be a pretty baroque exercise, but not doing it at all leads to other problems. So we muddle along and we argue, which is exactly what we need to do.

  30. Mike C says:

    The perceived greed factor shown by ABC is just another episode from a large corporation to milk revenue from an area of which many feel they have no right to be in.

    Why not?

    I’m really not trying to be dense – I’m just trying to understand the reasoning behind why they shouldn’t be allowed to be in this particular industry.

  31. Alison Cummins says:

    Mike,
    People can be annoyed or even outraged without feeling like they need to make a law. I have no idea what Irv’s position on wanting to make a law is. You might want to ask. (Hating your mother might be wrong, but it’s not illegal. Well, it was a capital offense in Calvinist Geneva I believe, but they gave that up pretty quickly.)

  32. Mike C says:

    Dividends are better: they are based on what you can skim off the top of a company’s actual revenues and are only worth something if you actually keep the stock. So the payoff for the stockholder is in keeping the company viable long-term.

    A dividend is a company’s way of say, “we can’t think of anything better to do with this money than give it back to our shareholders.” That’s fine for some, but other investors crave higher potential profits (and are willing to accept the inherent risk). They want the company to re-invest profits into new growth. High dividend producing companies may offer more stable returns over the years, but the price is a lower overall rate of return to shareholders. I’m not sure that’s better overall.

    Factoring in the long-term cost of non-renewable resources would be an even better way… if we could figure out how to do it.

    (Non-fashion-related illustration: Right now the price of cod only reflects the financial output of whoever caught it. Cod has been fished to commercial extinction. This is a direct result of competition and a short-sighted way of calculating profit. If you know there are trawlers out there who are fishing the cod to extinction, you had better put your own trawler on the water so you can fish them to extinction first. If the cod are going to be extinct anyway, and the profits are going to go to somebody, it might as well be to you, right?)

    I assume you meant “renewable” when you said “non renewable.”

    This is actually an example of tragedy of the commons. The solution is straightforward – auction off the right to fish cod to the highest bidder.

    The asset owner now has long term incentive to maximize the value of the investment. The maximum value is achieved through allowing cod to be fished year in and year out and sold.

    The government gets cash which it can use to offset high taxes on the population (haha!), the consumer gets cod at a price that reflects reality in perpetuity, and the cod isn’t forced to extinction.

  33. Irv says:

    Some may say they are not deserving as they have not “paid any dues” to the industry. Many will dismiss that theory immediately. Perhaps it is just a reaction or backlash to big business moving in on new territories and wreaking havoc. We all know the oppostion Walmart faces when looking at possible new locations. Could be that people are tiring of ” bigger is better” . Perhaps people desire things in smaller more palatable doses.
    Ask the guy whose family owned the hardware store for 4 generations in Walnut Creek, USA if he thinks Home Depot can provide the same level of service he did.
    Ask the hundreds of people that are loosing their jobs as NIKE consolidates in their market share war with Reebok, if expanding into new areas is fair.
    Huge corporations can expand into any markets they want. And greed and the need to appease stockholders is the only reason. Consolidation in some industries has proven neccessary for survival, but the “Mega” Corporation taking big bites out of everyone else’s business without “paying dues” is surely going to be met with opposition. Like here in this blog for starters.

  34. christy fisher says:

    It also takes away a big portion of the “dream”.
    Are we getting to the point of payola in this industry where a designer has to “pay to play” ? (illegal in many industries)
    We are expected to deal with chargebacks, markdown dollars, and triple markups, giving away merchandise to celebrities, sending freebies to magazines and newpapers, and other ridiculous “payments” in order to be “acknowledged” in this industry.
    ..and people wonder why a small company has trouble “making it”???!
    And now we have “corporate portals” that you KNOW are getting a cut..
    and many smaller stores are cow-towing to the corporate pressure and only carrying “branded” merchandise because they, too, are underfunded compared to the huge megaboxes ( so they are now trying to compete by offering the “famous” brands online at a discount)
    Greed drives the megatrends..the corporations, etc.
    Indies will eventually rise to the top, just as they did in the record industry.
    ..and some of them will eventually become major corporations who eat their young.

    I’m moving to Antwerp..
    They don’t have the “flavor of the day” mega marketed handbag in every line. They rarely advertise. The don’t throw their money at celebrity catwalk shows. They make a good product and a good profit.
    (Great article in today’s WWD)

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