Ferrari Races Into Merchandising

How many miles can you get out of a good brand? Ferrari is finding out with an aggressive rollout of stores stocking their branded merchandise

For Ferrari, success on the Formula One racetrack helps drive demand for high-end cars from deep-pocketed customers around the world. But not everybody can afford a Ferrari. So now the company is using its brand to sell gadgets, toys, and luxury goods as well.

Ferrari merchandising isn't a new concept, but the company has been building a structure around its merchandising since 2002 and is now ready for an aggressive rollout of new stores. There are 13 outlets now, and the company is aiming for 40 to 50 within the next few years. "We'll want to keep the number of stores limited to that in order to maintain the exclusivity of the brand," says Giulio Zambeletti, head of brand development at Ferrari.

The company already operates stores from Las Vegas to Shanghai. Its most recent opening was in September in Venice, and a new shop is on tap before the end of the year in Beverly Hills. Ferrari has about 1,800 different products in its merchandising portfolio, including ties, leather briefcases, jackets, toys, gadgets, umbrellas, and cufflinks.

Admiring the Merchandise

Some 40% of the merchandise is developed and produced directly by Ferrari, while the rest is from licensees. Among its partners: Acer, Puma, Mattel (MAT), and Lego.

Zambeletti, who describes himself as "a typical Ferrari fan," landed his dream job in March, 2005, and has been developing the brand with zeal ever since. "After a stressful day I go and take a look at the production line and my good mood comes back instantly," he says. "It would be different if this were a faucet factory."

While opening new locations, Zambeletti is careful in choosing partners, licensees, and new merchandising areas. His goal is to feed the Ferrari frenzy without cheapening the brand. Fortunately, Ferrari is its own ecosystem. Formula One racing means technological breakthroughs that filter down to cars made for the road.

That provides a platform for partnerships that can develop in other directions as well. And it serves as inspiration for everything the company produces, whether by itself or under license. "If Formula One didn't exist, we wouldn't either," says Zambeletti.

To see a slide show of Ferrari's stores and merchandise, click here.

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