The return of zombie brands

26 November 2008 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


Jake Goretzki writes:

Jake Goretzki writes:
The world of brands has always had a lively lexicon (those ‘wheels’, ‘onions’, ‘keys’ and ‘prisms’), but I came across a new face recently when I was listening to BBC World Service’s ‘Global Business‘ – the evocatively named ‘zombie brand‘.

Zombie brands are dead and delisted brands which retain emotional value, decades after they’ve been buried – and can, with clever handling, be reanimated by adapting yesterday’s positioning to new trends while retaining core truths.

The example which the programme cites is ‘Brim’, a decaf coffee in the US with an unforgettable jingle (something about ‘goodness to the brim’) that has, apparently, been resurrected as a vitamin-enhanced coffee. Brim, it is claimed, had been retained in the American collective memory as an idea of a coffee ‘that you could drink and it would not be bad for you…even good actually’. The Ford Taurus and Coke Tab also fit the bill.

In Eastern Europe, countless decommissioned Communist-era favourites, many gradually returning, behave in similar ways. Back in the UK, I hear the wailing of our own brand zombies – and nostalgia websites are teeming with them. Can it be long indeed before the dream return to the shelves of Spangles, this time single source and fairtrade? My hopes are still alive; sorry, undead.

The programme, presented by the incomparable Peter Day, can now be heard online.

The Brim poster at the top of the post is courtesy of Gasoline Alley Antiques.

Entry filed under: brands, marketing.

Almost like the real thing Designing for austerity

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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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