Advertising a Sub Brand Effectively

Successfully launching a sub brand can be a challenge for marketers, but it’s not that different from launching a new brand.


Millward Brown’s global advertising database includes a vast amount of data about brand launches that we can apply to campaign strategies for sub brand launches. We’ve put together some success stories, and a few examples of unsuccessful launches, along with charts to illustrate how to effectively launch a sub brand. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid some potential pitfalls.

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  1. A successful launch of a sub brand can help boost the parent brand as well.
    The successful launch of a sub brand for a leading spirits brand also grew overall sales of the parent brand.
  2. Think of a sub brand launch as you would a new product launch.
    The target audience needs to understand why the sub brand exists for a launch to succeed. People must see what makes the sub brand meaningfully different from the parent brand.
  3. Be cautious about using cues from the parent brand’s advertising. This can confuse viewers.
    We observed both success and failure when using familiar cues from parent brand advertising. Don’t assume that people will recognize the ad is for a sub brand.
  4. Make sure the sub brand is clearly different from the parent brand.
    Ensure the sub brand is the dominant focus of the launch ads. Show it in a different context, used on different occasions or highlight differences in packaging or design.
  5. Using a tag-on can be an inexpensive way to launch a sub brand, but it can also be risky.
    Tag-ons are often ignored or forgotten. If using this approach, pair with a new execution and make the tag-on simple and self-explanatory.

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