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Counter-Branding: Luxury Brands Send Snooki Competitors' Stuff

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Time was when pint-size Jersey Shore breakout star-slash-trainwreck Snooki wore her signature be-logoed Coach handbags like a badge of honor. But these days, the poufy-headed barfly has been spotted around town—and at police stations in and around New Jersey—toting a $900 Gucci "Sukey" handbag.

Where did she acquire this designer piece? Simon Doonan, Barneys' creative director and a columnist in the NY Observer says that Gucci's competitors sent it—as a sort of counter-branding technique.

No, really:

Allegedly, the anxious folks at these various luxury houses are all aggressively gifting our gal Snookums with free bags. No surprise, right? But here's the shocker: They are not sending her their own bags. They are sending her each other's bags! Competitors' bags!

Call it what you will — "preemptive product placement"? "unbranding"? — either way, it's brilliant, and it makes total sense. 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.

What we want to know is: Which company has it in for Gucci so bad that they'd send Snooki a Gucci bag? And what will be Gucci's counter-move? "Will Gucci send her a truckload of Goyard?" Doonan asks. "Will Goyard then deluge her with Valextra?" The suspense is killing us.
· How Snooki Got Her Gucci: The Dirt on Purses [Observer]