Lisa Merriam

The Osama bin Laden Brand Lives and Profits

Osama bin Laden may be dead, but the bin Laden brand is not. USA Today is reporting the Osama bin Laden brand is suddenly doing a booming business. From bumper stickers and ties to coffee mugs and t-shirts (you can even outfit your dog), the merchandising of bin Laden has begun.

Celebrity branding is a big business. Industry pundit Ira Mayer estimates dead stars generated $2.25 billion in North American revenue in 2009. An ecosystem of specialist agencies and license holders has sprung up to capitalize on lingering fame and brand equity of deceased persons. The likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley are worth far more now than they were when they were alive.

Of course, the big draw for the Osama bin Laden brand is that no one claims the licensing rights (though the U.S. Navy SEALs arguably could claim bragging rights). There will be no end to tastelessness. Despite two shots to his head, it is still open season on bin Laden’s brand.

UPDATE: Adweek has been chastised for an article deemed tasteless on the Al Qaeda brand. Indeed branding and bin Laden is completely tasteless–they even got Zombie bin Laden T-shirts on the market in less than 24 hours. Amazing.

Show Your Gratitude…send the Navy SEALs a postcard:

  • Navy UDT-SEAL Museum3300 North Highway A1a Fort Pierce, FL 34949-8520

Though working in secret and seeking no glory, they richly deserve our thanks—so let’s give it to them. It would be so awesome to build a mountain of thank you cards from their fellow Americans (and people from all nations). Please take a moment to write the two little words that mean so much. Tell our finest ‘”thank you.” More on SEAL history here.

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