Bringing brands back from the dead in much in the news at the moment and if you haven’t already you should make sure you vote in the poll that The Grocer is running :
Resurrecting a brand is not a new phenomenon but the advent of social media is certainly facilitating it. Social media allows enthusiasts to come together to apply pressure to companies to bring back the brands they want, in much the same way that it’s enabled businesses like L’Oreal to check demand for certain shades of makeup. It also enables people to connect across the country (countries) in larger numbers to make a more compelling business case. Wispa is perhaps the most obvious case in the UK, though after an initial high sales have slipped back on the brand.
A favourite example from the past for me, perhaps becuase it is so appropriately named is Reprise Records. The label was founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra, who subsequently acquired the nickname “The Chairman of the board”. One of its key distinguishing features was the amount of creative control it gave to its artists. The label was subsequently bought by Warner Bros in 1963. However despite success in the 1960s and early 70s the label was de-activated in 1976 and all the artists except Sinatra and Neil Young were transferred to the main Warner Bros label.
However in the summer of 1987 the reactivation of Reprise (the reprise of reprise) was announced and its artists include Green Day , Michael Buble, Enya, Eric Clapton and My Chemical Romance.
Other favourites of ours here at The Vlaue Engineers include the Mini, The VW Beetle, Triumph Motorcycles, Fab ice lollies and Golden Nuggets breakfast cereals. In fashion – Biba and Converse are two welcome returnees. In the media world bringing back brands is a well worn tactic and successes include Star Trek, Hammer Horror, the Thundercats and even Dr.Who
Why is it so popular? Well there are a number of reasons…
1. Launching completely new brands is expensive and high risk so relaunching can be much cheaper as you’re building on residual awareness and hopefully warm nostalgic feelings.
2. Bringing back old brands, especially if they were once iconic, can attract so much press and PR interest, the cost comes down even further.
3. The return of old brands plays to nostalgic feelings when people who knew the brand have grown up (and may now be parents and grandparents and want to introduce their children to brands they used to enjoy
4. it may be that the brand failed not because it was a bad brand but because of bad business decisions (e.g Biba) or it was amalgamated into a masterbrand as part of a decison to reationalise a portfolio (e.g Wispa)
However it is not always a guarantee of success and for all of our list of brands that have come back from the dead, they are as many who have tried and failed. It looks like Birds Eye Arctic Roll might be going that way, Action Man first “died” in 1984, made a return as “The greatest hero of them all” in 1993, only to disappear again in 2006.