In case you missed it , Target is now offering a full line of Missoni-branded merchandise, including bedding, electronics accessories, health and beauty products — and, yes, clothing. Three decades of experience building brands through consistency in both target and message tells me that this move ultimately degrades the Missoni brand in the world of high-end fashion … whatever its short-term benefit is elsewhere.
Notice that I’m not talking about the Target brand, but the Missoni fashion brand. The designer has now created two Missoni brands for its merchandise, each in deep conflict with the other: “Upscale Missoni” and “Missoni for Target.” But the same brand is supposedly driving both experiences! Something’s got to give.
This situation is not at all like Porsche’s, which offers Porche buyers the downscale Boxster model. The difference? You know when you’re buying a Boxster … because the car performs and looks completely different, and because it’s clearly labeled as a “Boxster”! You don’t expect the same power or the same quality that you would get if you laid out the money necessary to purchase a Porsche 911 Turbo! So the lower price makes sense.
Here, Missoni has made a very different, and harder to defend, decision. It made a short-term choice to sacrifice its ultra-high-end, ultra-high-quality apparel experience, and at the same time ticked off a large number of its current customers, in order to launch a low-end, low-quality cannibalization of its own brand. Understand: The quality of the clothing items available via Target simply isn’t in the same league with the real thing … but the label and the overall look still says Missoni! In essence, the designer is now producing its own apparel knockoffs.
The thinking here may be that all the other non-clothing Missoni lines sold through Target will somehow make up for this mistake. So far, I’m not convinced.
Imagine two women at a party, each wearing a new Missoni. The first woman walks up to the second one and says, “Oh, I see you shop at Target, too.” The second one is wearing an original Missoni that costs $600 … and the first one paid $60 at Target! (A side note: A friend of mine tells me she has a number of “real” Missoni outfits in the closet … and that, she says, is where they are now going to stay!)
An action like this inevitably cheapens a brand and takes it out of alignment with its customers. I wouldn’t have done it.
You Sleep When You Die: Missoni Meets Target: Your Verdict?