Wednesday January 16, 2013

Licensing the Wright Brothers

A story quoting Tracy Kizer about whether licensing the Wright Brothers' likenesses will cheapen their brand is making the rounds nationwide.

The Wright brothers didn't invent powered flight without taking some risks. It appears their descendents will be trying to preserve their memory by taking some, too.

The Dayton Daily News reported Jan. 15 the Wright brothers' family are licensing Orville's and Wilbur's likenesses for a variety of consumer goods. Reporter Tom Gnau talked to assistant marketing professor Tracy Kizer about whether that's a good idea.

Kizer told the Dayton Daily News "relatives of famous people should be careful not to 'flood' the market with images of their ancestors. That could destroy an air of 'exclusivity' about the brand and leave consumers with a bad impression."

The Associated Press picked up the story that has hit more than 80 outlets as of Jan. 16, including The Washington Post, Huffington Post and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

"The Wright Brothers hold a very special place in the hearts of many Americans – and probably many people worldwide – and they're not really associated with consumer goods right now," Kizer said.

Kizer joined the University faculty in 2009. She teaches Principles of Marketing and Promotions Management. Her research interests include branding, advertising effectiveness and predatory marketing.