Exploring the Possibilities: 14 of the Most (and Least) Successful Brand Extensions to Draw Inspiration From When it comes to brand extensions, there can be far-reaching positive or negative repercussions. With careful consideration, planning and execution, those potential outcomes can become amplified successes or averted disasters. Naturally, businesses would like the former circumstance – but pinpointing how to get there can be a difficult feat to accomplish. Fortunately, looking at the past outcomes of successful and unsuccessful extensions can aid in this pursuit.

At the forefront of the spectrum are numerous compelling brand extensions that carried a business to new heights. The Hershey Company, with its long-running milk and chocolate empire, launched Hershey’s Pourable Syrups in 2019. This business venture was the first extension in nearly two decades and was a success with its combination of convenience, sweetness and 0-grams of added sugar. Furthermore, Red Bull jumped into the energy drink market and swiftly became a global leader in the span of a few years. With no-holds-barred campaigns and a slogan of “Red Bull gives you wings”, Red Bull’s move into the industry changed the game and has inspired many subsequent companies to do the same.

On the opposite end, there have been some ill-conceived brand extensions that have cost the businesses involved dearly. Quaker Oats’ gone-too-soon Crystal Tips line of soft drinks, Pine-Sol Lemon Wisp, and Frito-Lay’s staggering 190 different attempts to expand its snack-food portfolio are just some of the attempts that failed to last. The cause of their failures are varied, with some over-marketing, others not setting themselves as sufficiently distinct from existing products, and others facing market saturation. But all of these costly missteps reveal the same vital lesson – if all aspects of a brand’s venture are not carefully calculated, the result can be an expensive venture into the unknown. From inventing new products to building a devoted consumer base, extending a brand’s reach can bring incredible opportunities for growth. As these 14 successful and not-so-successful examples demonstrate, brand extensions strategy can take many forms, with different levels of success depending on how well it is executed. Experiment, read up on consumer preferences and build a strategy that increases your brand’s visibility – the possibilities are virtually limitless!

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