Putting on the Economic Lenses: Branding Cupcakes

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Jul 23, 2007    •    525 Views

Last week, I decided to take my mother out to brunch in the West Village (for those who don’t live in New York City, a fantastic neighborhood filled with a mix of small, local vintage and luxury stores). As I left the taxi, I saw a long line of people standing outside a tiny bakery with a blue awning, otherwise known as the famous Magnolia Bakery. Made famous by the show Sex and The City, this bakery features cupcakes that will make your mouth drool (in other words, perfection).
Although I have fallen victim to the Magnolia craze, I have to admit that if these cupcakes weren’t ‘trendy’ or famous I probably would have overlooked this shop. If Carrie Bradshaw ate a cupcake at a bakery down the street instead of Magnolia, that place would have been famous. The concept of ‘branding’ is DEFINITELY not new, even for cupcakes. If someone gives me 3 cupcakes, I can probably tell which one was made from scratch, came from a bakery, or was made using a packaged mix (trust me, I’m pretty well trained in the art of identifying cupcakes). We know various cupcake brands, like Betty Crocker or Pillsbury, and can taste the difference in texture, moistness, frosting, etc… So the question I pose to you is this: can and should Magnolia Bakery become like these famous companies through selling their famous mix in supermarkets and specialty stores or should they keep their exclusivity by staying in the Village? What are the pros and cons of doing so? Yes, a venture like this would make Magnolia a lot of money, but should they sell out? And more importantly, would people buy the new Magnolia Products just because it is Magnolia? Let us know on Raise Your Voice!

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