William Shakespeare’s brand is estimated to be worth a huge $600 million according to a study released today evaluating the monetary worth of historical figures’ brands.
The study, commissioned to coincide with the release of Universal Sony Pictures’ ‘Anonymous’ on Blu-ray and DVD today, also questions the worth of the brand if, as depicted in Anonymous, William Shakespeare did not author the works attributed to his name.
The research, undertaken by leading independent brand valuation firm Brand Finance, also found that if the William Shakespeare brand was commercially owned – similar to that of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe – the value of the brand could potentially rise to over $1 billion.
Says Tim Heberden, managing director of Brand Finance in Australia: “Not only do these figures make the Shakespeare brand one of the strongest in the world, but it also shows the potential commercial value the Shakespeare name has garnered. We’ve given Shakespeare a AAA brand rating, one of the highest ratings we can give a brand.
Given certain sections of society, academics and a popular movement believe the Shakespeare brand is built upon a falsehood; this could be quite a controversial finding. If this theory is true and, as the movie suggests, the man we know as Shakespeare didn’t really pen the works attributed to him, there would be a rush to own and commercialise the name of the real author in order to potentially earn millions in royalties.”
The wide ranging study also found:
– The Shakespeare brand is worth double that of the combined brand values of Elvis Presley ($108 million), Marilyn Monroe ($43 million) and George Foreman ($149 million)
– The Shakespeare brand rating (AAA) is higher than that of Commonwealth Bank (AA+), Toyota (AA+), Telstra (AA-) and Woolworths (AA-).
– Shakespeare is the best-selling author of all time; with book sales estimated between two and four billion. In contrast, J.K. Rowling’s unit sales are estimated to be less than 450 million.
– 64 million children globally study Shakespeare in countries as diverse as Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Denmark, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ukraine and Vietnam.
– There have been more than 400 feature length films and TV productions of Shakespeare works.
– There are currently 67 registered trademarks bearing Shakespeare’s name in Australia, the UK and the USA alone ranging from Shakespeare’s Pies to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Heberden adds: “This movie certainly re-opens the Shakespeare authorship debate, and the study highlights the financial implications of the hypothesis that someone other than Shakespeare was responsible for the works.
The play Othello refers to reputation as the ‘immortal part of myself’ and suggests that it is ‘oft got without merit’. Enron, Arthur Andersen and Tiger Woods have discovered the financial consequences of damaged reputations. We would expect to see a sharp decline in the Shakespeare brand value if it were to become accepted that Shakespeare’s reputation was ‘got without merit’. On the other hand, Edward de Vere could become a valuable brand however skilful marketing and trade mark management would be required.”
This is the first time a monetary value has been placed on the Shakespeare brand taking into account book sales and downloads, paid attendance at theatre productions, box office and TV receipts from film productions, sale of Shakespeare branded goods, tourism revenue and the Shakespeare brand’s contribution to the value of First Folios.
‘Anonymous’, Roland Emmerich’s fictional depiction of the Shakespeare authorship issue starring Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and David Thewlis, is available nationally on Blu-ray and DVD from 7th March 2012