When I walked in to the new Ferrari brand store in Maranello last week, I was braced to be outraged. I am – like I suspect many of you – not entirely comfortable with the idea of linking the history and aura of Ferrari with everything from silk polo shirts through to teddy bears, all of it sold at a premium price.
As I toured the store my indignation grew. Here, for your own personal chest puffing, are a few selected ‘highlights’, all of which are pictured in the gallery should you require visual evidence:
Ferrari deodorant: €15
Ferrari mug: €19
Ferrari USB stick: €28
Ferrari ballpoint pen: €28
Ferrari Puma wallet: €32.50
Ferrari keyring: €48
Ferrari ashtray: €52
Ferrari wallet: €55
Ferrari Puma shoes: €86
Ferrari paperweight: €150
Ferrari sunglasses: €150
Ferrari playing card case: €240
Ferrari pencil tidy: €265
Ferrari F156 model: €600
Ferrari F1 car art model: €1800
But then someone said two things that made me change my position: firstly, if people want to spend their hard-earned on something that brings them closer to an otherwise out-of-reach brand, so be it. In almost everyone’s life there are examples of spending over the odds to buy something valued as that bit special.
As Ferrari road car sales are pushed into ever-more exclusive areas, presumably demand for this sort of thing will only increase?
And, secondly, and most effectively, the point was made to me that Enzo Ferrari only started selling road cars so that he could fund his passion for racing cars, so these kind of brand extensions could be seen as a continuation of that philosophy.
Of course, there’s the small consideration of shareholders and the like to be taken in to account these days, rather than the ability to just plough profits straight back in to racing.
But if someone wants to spend huge sums to have a Ferrari wallet, the profits from which will make Fernando Alonso go faster somewhere down the line, should I really be anything other than accepting?