The Snooki Effect: New Anti-Branding Tactic in Handbags?

Snooki with her Gucci bag

New York—Poor Snooki.

First, one of her own cast mates on her now infamous MTV reality series “Jersey Shore” said she looked like a “spray-painted Chihuahua.” In a profile of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, The New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn described the self proclaimed “guidette” as “busty and short-waisted with small legs; sort of like a turnip turned on its tip.There is the weird tan, but the pièce de résistance of Snookiness is the half-doughnut-shaped pouf on top of her head.”

Even President Obama chimed in on her looks. When joking about indoor tanning tax bill, the president quipped that Snooki and House minority leader John Boehner would “be exempt.”

Her latest beau, Jeff Miranda, didn’t help matter much either, explaining her appeal to one tabloid as “even though Snooki is drunk most of the time, she is a real sweet girl.”

‘Deliciously Dirty’ Un-Branding?

Now comes the latest chatter that Snooki may be a victim of an Ugly Betty-type scheme whereby an unnamed luxury brand gifted the 22-year-old with competitor’s signature handbags.

“Call it what you will — ‘preemptive product placement’? ‘unbranding’? — either way, it’s brilliant, and it makes total sense,” wrote Simon Doonan, Barney’s creative director in his New York Observer column this week. “As much as one might adore Miss Snickerdoodle, her ability to inspire dress-alikes among her fans is questionable. The bottom line? Nobody in fashion wants to co-brand with Snooki.”

Ouch!

Indeed, Snooki has been seen staggering around the New Jersey shore carrying a Gucci “Sukey” logo bag for all the world to see. Since her rise to notoriety on the critically lambasted “Jersey Shore,” Snooki had been photographed toting around a Coach logo brand. Now it seems that some “devious, delightful and deliciously dirty” luxurygoods marketer is providing Snooki with a designer logo bag in an effort to tarnish a carefully cultivated image.

While Snooki has been mum on the matter—a rare occurrence as anyone who watches the TV series knows—she’s reportedly hired managers to try to develop Snooki licenses, maybe a book deal or even her own TV show.

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com