When does brand extension become brand exploitation?
As you might have seen, I’ve recently been driving the Lamborghini Urus and was wondering if there’s a point where you can push things too far. Over-brand things. Apply a badge to something that doesn’t really sit with a company’s values.
The oddest thing was listening to Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s chief technical officer, talking about the fact that you can fit two golf bags horizontally into the Urus’s boot. Weird. Here’s a bloke who only 12 hours earlier was saying that the day Lamborghini didn’t still make a naturally aspirated engine would be the day he wouldn’t be there any more. And here he is: golf.
Which makes you think: well, is the Urus really a Lamborghini? It’s only able to exist because its maker has built sufficient credit in its brand by making supercars for the past five and a half decades. Sure, Stefano Domenicali, incumbent chairman and CEO, says “the Urus has to be fun to drive, otherwise you wouldn’t buy it, to be honest”, but you wouldn’t buy it either were there not a mid-engined V12 supercar that rolled out of the same gates.
Or would you? The average age of Lamborghini’s staff is late 30s. Most Lamborghini buyers are between 30 and 45. Domenicali talks about hiring young people – teenagers – within the company and listening to what they have to say. What they want. “That doesn’t mean that everything they say is right,” he adds. But he sees the prominence and visibility of the brand among the young.