A Brand Goes from Cool to the Fool

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Ed Hardy

Have you heard of it?

If not, you’ve likely seen it but it just didn’t register.

Ed Hardy is a brand of clothing, mostly t-shirts and trendy baseball caps, by designer Christian Audigier.

His clothing is distinguished by lavish colors painted across a wide swath of the item, often with motifs of skulls or jewels.

For awhile, Ed Hardy clothing was the coolest thing on the block. Or so I was told. Once I got married, fashion fell to the bottom of my priority list.

Celebs were wearing it. LA hipsters were wearing it. People at the World Series of Poker were wearing it. You could see it on MTV, VH1, E!, etc.

Then a funny thing happened.

In a very short period of time, the brand went from cool to a laughing stock in certain circles.

The first sign of this was when I found a bunch of Ed Hardy clothes at my local Marshall’s, usually the graveyard for designers.

If you’re a trendy, exclusive designer, why on earth would you allow your items to be sold in a mass-market discount chain? Right then and there should have been a huge warning sign that the brand was overreaching.

Backlash is growing on the internet too. Facebook has groups called (I’m not kidding) “Thanks to Ed Hardy, I recognize idiots with no sense of style immediately.”.

That group has close to 5,500 members.

Now Ed Hardy has become a brand that people snicker at when they see it being worn.

I’m not sure what the exact takeaway is from this, or if there is a concrete lesson to be learned.

I guess the moral of the story is this: in the day and age of the Internet, your brand can move from zero to hero quickly. But it can plummet to the depths of discount stores just as fast.

This often occurs because the original intent of the brand (in Ed Hardy’s case, cool designer wear) has been sullied (found in Marshall’s, doofus people on MTV wearing it).

If you’ve spent considerable time and money building a brand, remember that the work isn’t over. Carefully monitor how the brand is doing. It could save it from the brand graveyard.

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