Friday, April 19, 2013
ONE SIZE DOESN'T FIT ALL
Maybe you've heard that Topps is in the apparel business these days. Yep, a company that began manufacturing chewing gum in 1938 and then trading cards in 1951 now sells "worn'' slouchy caps with embroidered logos and adjustable backstraps.
Of course. A natural and obvious progression.
Topps Tipsy Ale must be around the corner.
What about its bread-and-butter product, those trading cards? Well, something's got to give, especially when there's vintage tees, hoodies and pinstriped unisex jammies to blast email about.
If that wasn't enough, Topps is also branching into the memorabilia and auction house industries. It is selling and putting up for bid slide transparencies, from which some card images were taken, and other stuff laying around the office. For $300, you can have a 1969 color slide of Rod Carew. Or for $2,500, the signed Tom Lasorda Topps baseball card contract from 1954.
Give me both and a large camo Dodger hoodie express-shipped.
Topps, of course, is just continuing a sad trend in our society, one littered with professionals and companies confidently entering areas they have no business going. It's all in the name of expanding, er, diluting their brand to make an extra buck.
You have athletes who want to act and/or sing, actors who want to sing, singers who want to act and cooks who want to entertain. You even have a once-great Japanese electronics company (rhymes with "phony'') slapping its name on anything with wires and plastic knobs.
Call me an old fart, but give me a John Deere tractor.
Ted Williams at the plate.
Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
Luciano Pavarotti at The Met.
Reggie Jackson in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Above all, give me single-minded pros and companies who continually refine what they do best.