Yes we did a post on death not too long ago.  But I can’t let go of something I just heard.  I was stunnedI tell you!, when I heard Sony raised prices of Whitney Houston’s album a mere 30 minutes after her death announcement.  As reported on, two of the singer’s hits collections saw a sharp increase in price on British iTunes on Saturday, with downloads of “The Ultimate Collection” increasing some 60% from £5 ($7.85) to £8 ($12.50), while “The Greatest Hits” jumped 25%.  

But Sony reversed the increase on Sunday night saying it was a mistake (I’ll say) and that they hadn’t intended to raise prices.  Rather, they thought Whitney’s albums had been under-priced for a while, her death simply called attention to the mistake, which was promptly fixed. 

But by then Twitter was on fire.   

 What’s that old saying?  Better to do it now and ask for forgiveness later. 

Sure, everything is marketing, but folks, you can’t hijack death!  In a world of consumer conversation all I can say to Sony is W…T…F…  

The very sad death of a woman with a god-given talent got us thinking about brand lifecycles (crass as it sounds).   Whitney, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain:  all extremely talented people, loved by many, but were victims of their own success (excess?).  It’s rare the person who gets through and enjoys a long “brand lifecycle.”  (Speaking of making it through, read Keith Richards’ “Life.”  It’s a fantastic book, a fascinating look into the mind of a guitar player).  

It’s easier to live in the now and not concern yourself with the distant future.  It’s less complicated to just keep on keepin’ on and ignore looming disasters (Blockbuster, Kodak).  What is your brand’s roadmap to ensure it has a long lifecycle and not burn out before its time?