Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sherlock as a brand


It was actor Richard E. Grant, in a documentary entitled Elementary My Dear Viewer, who remarked that Sherlock Holmes had become a brand. Now he was almost certainly not the first person to make this statement but it is no less interesting for that.
Richard E. Grant

Only recently we have seen the launch of a BBC Sherlock version of Cluedo but that is, of course, slightly different. That is the use of a TV version of Sherlock Holmes as branding rather than the original article.

So what is the original article? Well that is open to debate but for people in the UK it is probably the Holmes embodied by the illustrations of Sidney Paget. For those in the US it is probably the Holmes drawn by Frederic Dorr Steele which was based on the actor William Gillette.

Holmes by Paget (left) and Steele (right)

Now the Cluedo board game, as stated, is based on the BBC programme but a lot of the other items available today are based on the Holmes of the illustrations. As you can see, the items shown below, with the exception of the board game and tobacco, hark back to the original illustrations.

Sherlock Cluedo, fancy dress, rubber duck and Holmes tobacco
One of my personal favourites is the chess set which seems to be modelled, at least for some pieces, on the Paget illustrations (this is most obvious with the Moriarty piece).


Sherlock Holmes chess set

The tobacco is a perfect example of a product with nothing to link it to Holmes (apart from the fact that Holmes smoked) that will probably sell better purely  because of the name on the tin.

What is the maddest piece of Sherlock Holmes merchandise that you have seen or own? What have you seen that does not have even the most tenuous link and is still labelled with the Holmes name?



For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK,  Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.

Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UKAmazon KindleKoboNook  and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

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