Hearst Tag


Brand extensions and licensing can be extremely profitable...or a disaster!


Do you remember the Harley Davidson cake decorating kit? How about Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “FingerLickin’ Good” edible nail polish? Or these winners?
• Zippo’s line of female perfumes?
• Evian’s water-filled bras to keep women cool?
• Jeans manufacturer Diesel’s line of fine boutique wines?

Brand extensions can go horribly, horribly wrong.


The failure rate for brand extensions is as high as 80-90%, according to Mitch Duckler, managing partner of US-based brand strategy consulting firm FullSurge.

Bespoke software systems built BY media companies FOR media companies have proven successful and profitable for a select few.

If you’ve worked at a media company, you have had the “pleasure” of using a content management system or ad management tool, and you know it is, in fact, rarely a pleasure.

In the last five years, a few media companies decided to do what everyone else was thinking: WE could do a better job at this!

And why not? Who knows the needs of the editorial and advertising departments better than those departments themselves?

The frustration boiled over first at the Washington Post back in 2014. Over the following few years, Vox Media, New York Magazine, and Hearst all got into the Software as a Service (SaaS) business.

The Washington Post’s Arc system

Even before Amazon chief Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, the company was moving in the direction of solving its tech problems by itself.

While the company was scrambling to keep up with the lightning speed of digital change, they, like most other media companies, discovered that their CMS and ad management systems were holding them back.

“As a business, we asked more of our newsroom,” Jeremy Gilbert, the company’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, told Fast Company. “What we noticed was: 1) We didn’t have the tools to be more productive and, 2) The CMS was a fairly monolithic platform. Adding any features to it, making any changes to it, or getting support from vendors was just very difficult.”