Brandchannel, in an attempt to generate a little thought, has posted the two following comments under the title "Chilean Miners' Rescue: Should Brands Profit?" (here):
The miners are poor, and they've been through hell, so why shouldn't they get gifts from companies? The only part I'm not clear is how their agreement works... if it's really all for one and one for all, then is it fair that the one miner gets the free trip to Graceland? It's like kids - they have to receive equally, otherwise I can see this starting some squabbling!These comments focus on gifts to miners and on the leverage that brands can extract by association with them through the publicised donation of branded products. The Age however briefly mentioned last week a development that seems more worthy of serious comment -- the branding of the Chilean miners as "Los 33" and the inflation of the commercial value of their side of the story by initially suppressing it and not competing with one another for its sale:
Lori Mac - October 15, 2010
What's the overused quote about the Chinese word for opportunity containing that for crisis? No -- the other way around. The miner story is one that brands should get behind if it's right for them. Brands need to keep in mind that showing up at an overexposed, all-things-analyzed event, means those brands' intentions will endure scrutiny. Oakley got as much attention for looking like it was marketing during the event as it did for donating sunglasses to people who genuinely needed them. Win for Oakley? Maybe. Crisis may equal opportunity but opportunity does not equal success.
Abe Sauer, Brandchannel - October 16, 2010
Some men wanted a lawyer to draw up an agreement to trademark the rights for the phrase ''Los 33'', while others wanted a mutual pact of silence".The IPKat isn't sure what the current state of their trade mark application plans happens to be, or even if they got as far as instructing a professional representative. However, he is always intrigued by the birth of an instant brand. What are its core values? Who would wish to buy into it as licensees or as consumers? How far is it capable of export? What opportunities exist for brand extension? And so on.
"Los 33" is a brand which has already been exposed to fluctuating values. The miners, first thought to be irretrievably lost, were then reckoned to be subject of a log-term rescue that would leave them in (for most of us) unimaginable discomfort for half a year as a by-no-means-guaranteed rescue was planned and executed. From victims they morphed into heroes as their spirited and positive attitude towards their predicament shone from the suffocating dark and illuminated our own worlds. More recently it has been the seamier side of a Chilean miner's life which has dominated our attention, as mistresses have combined or battled with lawful spouses in the battle for their bodies and their souls. Trapped, in more senses than one, Los 33 have been in no position to explain, to deny, to apologise or to engage in whatever form of domestic damage limitation is practised to the West of the Andes. Now we wonder whether it is perhaps it is the rescuers who are the real heroes; many of the miners are, it seems, victims of nature after all -- but this time they are victims of their own nature, from which there is no easy rescue.
So return to our original questions. What are the core values of the "Los 33" brand? Who would wish to buy into it as licensees or as consumers? How far is it capable of export? What opportunities exist for brand extension? These commercial propositions look a lot less attractive now than they did a few weeks ago.