Old school marketing makes MySpace launch music tour & clothes line

NewsCorp is apparently determined to wring every last short-term dollar it can out of MySpace. That’s why we now have MySpace clothes and music. This seems a classic example of bad brand extensions. It’s like the old school marketing types said, “well the kids are really into music and clothes!” But is there one type of music and clothes that appeal to “the kids”?

myspaceThe community features an all new look, and a host of new programming such as MySpace Presents: The Fit, MySpace Muse presented by Who Wear What Daily, InStyle News and a collection of amateur and professional fashion videos from runway shows and MySpaceTV. You’ll also be able to see featured designers, profiles, and videos.

As a brand, MySpace’s core value is about creating your own identity. A better fit, if you will pardon the pun, in clothes would have been a line of DIY kits and such. Instead we get very typical marketing think that’s just about putting the brand on anything that might vaguely seem appropriate. The thinking is all about what customers will buy right now and not what they will respond to over the long run.

I have no doubt that Mr. Murdoch & co. will make some fast money but this — along with the gross amount of commercial placement on the site — will kill it. They don’t seem to have much interest in anything besides selling ads to companies that want to connect with the people who use their site. That means they are losing touch with the people who are actually using the site and made it into what it is — or was.

WebProNews reports on an IDC study supporting my point:

“Social networks cannot guarantee a brand-safe environment. Advertisers don’t want to see their ads displayed alongside illicit content, for example,” says Karsten Weide, program director of IDC’s Digital Marketplace: Media and Entertainment. “The dilemma for social networks is if they start to control what content users can post, they will lose popularity, which is what attracted advertisers in the first place.”

And there’s this from the essential Jeremiah Owyang:

Myspace’s younger demographic rates are decreasing says this Business Week’s July 07 report: “but U.S. visitors under 18 to MySpace dropped 30 percent over the past year, while Facebook’s rose about 2 1/2 times”

This is definitely MySpace’s jump the shark moment.

(Wow, that was waaay too well informed. I promise a return to the usual lack of info ASAP.)

Welcome home, as it were

Welcome to the new home for Collateral Damage, that irritating blog that used to be at CMO magazine, until CMO bit the dust. For those of you new to my little menagerie of stories — this is where I, yet another opinionated blow-hard, go on at length about business and marketing and vainly attempt to be funny.

About me: I’m Constantine von Hoffman, a senior writer for BrandWeek magazine and standup comedian.

Here is what in journalism parlance is called the “nut graph” about me. A veteran journalist with more than 20 years professional experience, I am one of the few people to have worked for both the devil (AKA Rupert Murdoch when I was city editor at the Boston Herald) and The Deep Blue Sea (associate producer for National Public Radio’s environmental news show Living on Earth).I have covered everything from fires to sewer committee meetings to science to the arts and A LOT of business stories. Prior to BrandWeek, I was senior writer for CMO magazine and before that I was a freelance writer. My work has appeared in a whole bunch of magazines, including the Harvard Business Review, Sierra, Boston Magazine and CIO.