Night of the Living Dead Brands

January 4th, 2011 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

Antic Magazine Disk for Atari Computersphoto © 2005 John Morton | more info (via: Wylio)
Brands are like personalities for a physical product.  They have value built over time.  Even when they fade from stores and consumers think the brand is dead, they live on.

Acquiring Trademarks

There are companies that hold the trademark to these brands.  Additionally, there are companies that believe they can revive faded icons.

Racebrook Marketing Concepts, LLC ran an advertisement recently auctioning “150 Timeless Trademarks.”  Their trademarks included categories like:  Personal Care, Food and Beverage, Apparel, Consumer Goods, Technology and many others.

Some of these trademarks included: American Brands, Infoseek, Meister Brau, General Cinema and Braniff International.

Reviving Brands

Imation has worked hard to revive some old brands.  Memorex is now in the consumer electronics area and TDK is into high-end stereo gear.  Of course, Imation itself needs an image makeover.  Do you remember Imation Brand Floppy Disks?  When was the last time you used a floppy disk?

Retailers and Retail Brands

Circuit City: It liquidated in 2009 and was brought back in 2010 as an e-tailer.

Sharper Image: They went bankrupt in 2008 and closed all its stores.  Now, the name lives on as a brand for foot massagers and similar products at various retailers.

Thom McAn: I worked at this shoe retailer while in high school.  It went bankrupt and closed all its stores years ago.  Then, the brand came back attached to various shoes available in lower priced stores.

The Takeaway

Brands have value.  Nurture and help them.  Otherwise, the economic value will diminish.

That’s it.  Over to you.  Please comment below.

1.      Have you contemplated reviving a faded brand?

2.      How do you maintain the value of your brands?

3.      What other examples of revived brands can you add?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at)

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  1. Hello, Rob. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is often the case. We think when the brands die in a public forum, that they are really dead. I think it’s very cool that companies find ways to have their products live on. Who know, we may some day see some of the brands revived in the form of local stores, again.

    • Rob Berman says:


      It would not surprise me that some of these brands come back as local stores. The malls have lots of those temporary stores and pushcarts. Would be a way to test the idea.



  2. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Rob,

    A bit late in commenting. I actually spent a lot of my marketing career reviving brands. In most cases they needed repositioning, changes to the branding etc due to the changing perceptions of customers and the companies not be up to date with their needs, desires, buying behaviour etc.

  3. I can’t think of a brand that has rebranded, but when I think of brands, Nike is the first that comes to mind. The classis yet current swoosh as their logo, and “Just Do It” as their tag line will forever be etched in my head. I like it when a company has such strength that they don’t “need” to rebrand.

    • Rob Berman says:


      Nike is perhaps the best example of a logo and a tag line that are memorable. They have crossed over into every day language when someone says, “Just Do It.”


  4. Great reminder of discontinued brands Rob! I racked my brain to think of a company that went out of business only to have the brand revived by a company that is still in business. I finally came up with Kaybee Toys which became KB Toys. The domain name is still registered. It brings you to a home page that directs you to which is actually the ToysRUs brand.

    It would be interesting to know how much traffic is brought to ToysRUs from the KB brand.

    • Rob Berman says:


      Good question. A number of bricks and mortar stores morphed into online stores or simply had the brand purchased and move to the Internet. There was some value to KB so why not maximize that value?


  5. Rob — I was interested to learn about the revival of these iconic brands. But even name brands today are only that — a brand. They do not make anything. One example is Sarah Lee which has a stable of other brands under it that they manage. Another is Marriott, which manages franchises with the Marriott name as well as the Ritz-Carlton, the Tiffany of brands in the hotel business. That’s why protecting brand equity is so important — without that the company crumbles.

    • Rob Berman says:


      Great examples. Many companies are eliminating their manufacturing capabilities and outsourcing them. They have become marketing companies. When you have less control of the quality you have a brand equity challenge waiting for you.


  6. Hi Rob,
    Happy New Year!
    Part of nurturing brands today is reputation management through social media. People expect to be able to contact brands through social media and get an immediate response.

  7. Great post, Rob. This post along with my recent post is a 1-2 punch! I have a story to share. My wife took a trip to China last year for a job opportunity. She explained to me that the company was a suitcase and bag manufacturer. Most likely the company has made the suitcases you have in your home. well, their goal in 2010 came true when they bought Samsonite. Not the company, just the brand. So if that doesn’t tell you how important brands are I don’t know what is.

    • Rob Berman says:


      Why buy the whole company and its baggage (pun intented) if you can get the brand and manufacture it much less expensively. Thanks for sharing the story.


  8. Hey Rob,

    First of all, I didn’t know the Sharper Image went out of business LOL – I must live in a cave. You asked the last time we used a floppy disk? Even though it feels like yesterday, I realize it was a long time ago.

    I really like your analogy “Brands are like personalities for a physical product” – great definition.

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