What’s in a brand?

Magazine brands are moving away from traditional magazine content when it comes to apps.  Esquire has launched a puzzle app for the iPad, for example.

That makes sense. Brands have been extending their boundaries for years with things like conferences and merchandise. New media prompt new ideas. So far so good.

Can it go too far though?

101 Dalmatians
101 Dalmatians: quite a brand!

I ask because of a recent experience.  I set out to buy a copy of  The 101 Dalmatians as a gift.  I wanted the novel, written by Dodie Smith in 1956. I remembered it fondly. But I was hard pressed find it.

That’s because, I discovered, 101 Dalmatians is a brand, not a book. I could find videos of the animated film made by Disney in 1961.

I could find a video of the film made in 1996 starring Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson. I could find a video game.

I could find countless picture  book versions for a variety of age groups.

But the novel that started it all ? That was much harder.

Still, maybe that’s a sign of success.

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