The Art of Branding to 'Tweens

This clip was on the Today Show earlier this morning. Just another fascinating piece of marketing research (one of my preoccupations) and an inside look at how kids- nay, "'Tweens"- perceive brands.

A Question for You...

If a man outside of Harvard University wears apparel from the (somewhat) eponymous line, Harvard Yard, does it make him smarter? I am having a difficult time comprehending this collaboration between Harvard University and Wearwolf Group.

I don't have a problem with the clothes- the boys in Cambridge are capitalizing on a movement of sorts as pushed forth in the dogma that is Ivy Style as championed by the likes of Michael Williams @ A Continuous Lean and the guys @ men.style.com among others.

I guess my real question is less satirical. As a consumer, while I might like that Eisenhower jacket in plaid and think it's a great layer for Fall, would I buy something essentially from Harvard? I didn't go to Harvard, and my "brand loyalty" lies with the colleges I attended. I wouldn't buy a college product from a college I didn't attend. And is this even a "college" product so as to even have this debate? It's not like a sweatshirt with "Harvard" emblazoned on it. It's a line of clothing- not that any of my colleges have anything to compare to anyway.
Maybe that's the rub- can Harvard Yard be a label and not a college?

It is not a "label" thing per se. I am a very "non-label" guy (I even have a series of posts I am planning to that effect). If something looks good, fits good and hits a price point (read value) for what the garment is, I would buy it. But man, pushing the limits of my collegiate allegiance might make this an interesting confrontation.

Regardless of whether the garments are well-done, style-wise and construction-wise, can this Ivy-branded line succeed? Is Harvard Yard guilty by association? That is the research geek in me coming out. I do not know whether there are any brands that have debuted with such a history already in place and a place in history already so cemented. And does that history hinder or help?

A great challenge, no doubt, but can Harvard Yard be successful outside of a small (university) market? I am certain the folks at Wearwolf Group are eying a bigger target market than the University and its Alma Mater. But can they generate a purchase in said target group? Or are there more people like me out there that would have a really hard time buying something from another school, regardless of fit, finish, function, etc.? I am sure I just got a "Hell Yes!" from all the Yale grads out there. But what about everyone else?

Is it about loyalty? Branding? Style? Something else? I guess, really, which guy are you? (And no, I don't mean Harvard or Yale.)