Before my the first day of class of my freshman year of school, I'd go to the Ala Moana in Honolulu to shop, eat and see a movie.
I thought that I was smartly dressed in my little Izod LaCoste outfits.
That was until I stumbled into the old Mc Inerney store to check out the Ixiz watches.
When I enquired of the whereabouts of their "Alligator" line - "Downstairs in the bargain basement" was the reply from the sale clerk.
It seems that what was deemed a luxury brand in my hometown was deemed a bargain brand by those with more.
But it wasn't just me.
It seems that in licencing it's LaCoste brand to Izod for the American market - the brand became so widely available that it lost it's snob appeal (kind of like what happened with Tommy Hilfiger going urban, or Schwinn selling bikes in WalMart).
The brands sold more items at a lower price but ended up diminishing their value.
Target is the king of this type of marketing.
Brands like Michael Graves, Mossimo, Stephen Sprouse, Fiorucci and others capitalized at the apex of their brand's desirability to sell an inferior product to a wider group of people.
Bob Johnson did the same thing with BET.
While BET was never considered a luxury brand - it could have been.
But Bob was a student of the American System of economics.
Bob valued his company as a payday - instead of as an asset that could shape or reshape the tastes of the American market.
In selling out to Viacom - the value of BET became further diluted.
BET became one of the many revenue streams for a world-wide conglomerate.
BET became a product that could be manipulated to appeal to the most people at the lowest cost.
Is BET crap?
But only in the way that are Mac Donald's, Snickers, Cheetos, or any other product designed to sell for maximum profits at the lowest production costs (with no concern about the health or well being of their customers).
Don't hate on BET - BET is reflective of the American way of doing things.
In fact, the story of BET is the story of America.