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Brand Mandela Set To Be Mega Brand

posted 11 Dec 2013, 10:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Dec 2013, 10:01 ]


Reuters Business Report - The face that launched a thousand protests.

And now it seems, a thousand product lines.

Brand Mandela has become big business.

So big it threatens to overshadow the man himself.

David Haigh of brand valuation experts, Brand Finance.

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''His fame is huge, and therefore many people are now rushing around trying to get their piece of the fame, including his own family and it's well recorded that they are arguing, squabbling, digging up past ancestors. You know, there's a whole debate going on which is just so sad, it's undermining the very thing he was creating.''

But it's not uncomplicated.

Mandela divided management of his legacy between trusts to handle his family wealth.

And the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

It owns copyrights to Mandela's prison number - used on a clothing, wristbands and mobile phone starter packs - and his main names.

The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and some 50 other institutions around the world are also authorised to use those.

But a recent count showed that several dozen companies with no connection to Mandela were using that name with no permission.

Many more using Madiba.

Earlier this year, the South African government warned against fake charities trying to cash in on one or the other.

Feuding between family members has also grabbed headlines.

Mandela's friend, lawyer George Bizos fought with two of Mandela's daughters for control of companies managing Mandela proceeds.

Brand Finance says tight legal management to nail down the intellectual property rights is a must if Brand Mandela is to stay true to its origins.


''You have to have very good legal advice. Secondly, you have to have a very good board of trustees. And I would be recommending a global board of trustees of great stature to prevent the squabbles that are going on between his family.''

Super trustees, then, to manage what is already becoming a mega brand.

Its valuation difficult to estimate, but likely to run into tens, if not hundreds of million of dollars.