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Counter-Branding: Luxury Brands Send Snooki Competitors' Stuff

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

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]