If you wanted the failure of your dot-com to go unnoticed, yesterday was a great time for the bad news to hit the papers. But I’m afraid that I just can’t let the passing of Pets.com slip by unnoticed.
Moneybox readers may recall an item in June noting the interesting paradox of an extremely popular branding campaign that seemed likely to be inconsequential to the company’s future. It was the Pets.com sock puppet, of course, that carried the brand and became a small pop culture phenomenon. But the company is winding down anyway.
So what will become of the puppet? The company says that it will sell off its assets, and it lists the “Sock Puppet brand icon” prominently among them. This is an intriguing scenario: Offhand I can’t think of an example of a company mascot losing its company while the mascot was still a relatively recent and well-liked entity. Is it possible for a mascot to switch allegiances to another company? If so, which one? Or could it become a sort “free agent,” showing up in a range of ads, looking for work on Monster.com, lounging around with the Budweiser “Whassup?” crew, getting by on a MasterCard? Or maybe the puppet is best off quitting the corporate world altogether in favor of a development deal with DreamWorks.
Any other ideas or suggestions?
Meanwhile, if you want to buy a talking sock-puppet toy or other puppet product from Pets.com, the clock is ticking fast. The home page of the company’s Web site says it will stop taking orders tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT.