[Used without permission - sorry Bill]
Calvin and Hobbes would be required reading if I got to decide these things.
If you've never read any I suggest you go find some. I believe it will make your life richer and we will forever know if we are destined to get on based on whether or not you agree.
Calvin & Hobbes was a long running comic strip that explored the boundaries of knowledge via the lens of a 6 year old boy and his [possibly] imaginary tiger. Named after John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, the pair wrestle with the big questions whilst playing havoc with reality, their neighbourhood, and their parent's nerves.
Calvin's boundless enthusiasm is tempered by Hobbes' distinctly cynical view of mankind, whom he considers inferior to tigers in every regard.
Their creator, Bill Watterson, was a disillusioned adman who refused to let any of his characters be merchandised [leading to a brisk trade in fake t-shirts forever after], because he felt that the extensions would detract from his work:
Each product I considered seemed to violate the spirit of the strip, contradict its message, and take me away from the work I loved.
Which could perhaps serve as a consideration for brand extensions in general...
In the strip above, the pair lovingly dissect the primary emotional legerdemain underlying most classic advertising - the fabrication of an emotional need that can only be satisfied by the featured product.
If everyone assumes your brand is cool - does it matter whether it is or not?
[Thanks to Daniel for inspiring this post with a question about gum.]