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Texaco Still A Strong Brand

January 17th, 2016 · 1 Comment

By Garland Pollard

The Texaco brand is still a potent icon on the highways of the United States and world. As oil companies struggle with the low price of gas, this is perhaps the perfect time for its parent company to refocus attention on this icon of American history. A downturn is the time to plan for greater things.

Today, the Texaco star is still recognizable, though it is no longer as well known as it was. Part of the confusion came with Texaco’s merger with Chevron. While Chevron has wisely kept the brand (sort of unequal co-equals), it is slightly confused about it, as it has to promote two different brands of gas, even though all of that gas is coming from the same place.

This is the same issue that Exxon and Mobil faced after their merger. Again, ExxonMobil has kept both the brands, and has separate identity packages for them.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Texaco star was all about trust. The slogan was all about trust, and it was seen on NBC’s Texaco Star Theater and Huntly-Brinkley Report. Even today, those who remember the slogan can still recite the words; a reel of Texaco commercials can be seen below. The line goes:

“You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.”

It was sort of poetry, and terribly practical. Gradually, service stations declined and gas became a bit of a commodity. In the 1950s to early 1970s, regulations made gas retailers fill up your car, and so it mattered that you trusted the man who came to  your car to fill it up. No woman wanted a creeper looking into her car, and down her dress, as he got her to sign the credit card carbon copy. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Energy

Kmart Tries Again With Blue Light

January 16th, 2016 · 1 Comment

By Garland Pollard

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Kmart, a unit of Sears Holdings, has struggled for the last two decades. In the last two years, management has tried to give the brand focus, all the while suffering from old stores and less viable locations. This month, more bad news came as more store closings are announced and Christmas sales are down.

But the chain is still optimistic.

At the end of 2015, they debuted new promotion that’s pretty old; the Blue Light Special. Kmart was known for the specials in pop culture, though it has been years since they were actually used. The idea was simple; there would be a short term bargain offered by management, and when it was, the manager would turn on the blue light and store goers would rush to the bargain to buy it, but only while the blue light was flashing. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: News · Retail

Kodak Brings Back Super 8

January 15th, 2016 · No Comments

By Garland Pollard

Kodak is taking a route back to move forward as it reintroduces the Super 8 camera.

In a press release, the company said it had built a “roadmap”super8_pressReleaseImage that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer. “Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium.”

The revival comes on the heels of a series of analog and retro revivals that include electronics like vinyl records and Polaroid film as well as the trend to the traditional seen in the passion for artisanal food, heritage vegetables, single malt Scotches and craft beer. Perhaps the most notable of the revivals is Polaroid, the return of which was heralded as The Impossible Project.

Super 8 is being pushed by a number of film-makers including Quentin Tarantino and Steven Speilberg, who both were quoted in the Kodak news service item. It helps that many of these old school revivals are being touted by older generations, yet the market and demand is being stoked by millenials and such.

This is very good news, and very smart for Kodak.

Could Kodachrome and the Carrousel be next?


→ No CommentsTags: Technology

Classic Brands: Ritz Cheese Cloth, Since 1892 

November 22nd, 2015 · 1 Comment

By Garland Pollard

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN – The Ritz cloth brand was originally founded in 1892 by the John Ritzenthaler Company. This lower Manhattan (aren’t so many great brands founded there?), was started by John Ritzenthaler, a German immigrant, who gave the products the name Ritz Cloths.

In 1970, Howard Steidle bought the company, and through the years other products were added to the line, which includes kitchen textiles, table linens, bath textiles, laundry and cleaning products.

The brand is sold not only in craft and grocery stores, but in gourmet cooking stores. This holiday season, Publix even has the brad at the end of the aisle.

John Ritzenthaler, based in West Conshohocken, Penn., is still a private company.

→ 1 CommentTags: Cooking · Grocery

Hilco Auctions A&P Brand Portfolio

October 24th, 2015 · 3 Comments

By Garland Pollard

MONTVALE, N.J. – ACSFGmEoUcAAFapw&P, one of the greatest brand names in the history of the United States, is up for auction, along with all the assets of the annoyingly mismanaged and bankrupt Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.

Joan Verdon of The Bergen Record reports on the upcoming sale, where I talk about the company.

Hilco Streambank, a division of the liquidation company that is working with A&P to dispose of its assets, announced on Friday that it is seeking bids for six store names – A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaums, Food Basics, SuperFresh, and Best Cellars – and for eight private label brand names.

Interest in the brands will be telling. The names of great retailers certainly have appeal for re-use, but they often only have niche value as web addresses or for use as store brands. Of course, the important sale to watch is who buys the A&P brand.

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Grocery

Bremner Wafers Still Around, and Still Green

October 8th, 2015 · No Comments

By Garland Pollard

Bremner_WaferDENVER – One of the great cracker brands, still independent, is Bremner. They are classic cocktail party crackers, and none better.

Of course, Mr. Bremner said that himself in 1890.

“We acknowledge no superior in the quality of our goods and fear no competitors on that score.”
– D.F. Bremner Baking Company
January 17, 1890

The company dates from the 19th Century, and was founded the year the Civil War ended by David F. Bremner, who operated a bread bakery in Cairo, Illinois. [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Grocery

ConAgra Needs a Fix of Its Classic Brands

October 7th, 2015 · 1 Comment

By Garland Pollard

Ranch Style BeansOMAHA – ConAgra has consolidated itself into a purveyor of dozens of some of the best-known brands in the United States, including Hunt’s, Swiss Miss, Peter Pan, Blue Bonnet, La Choy, Mueller’s, Jiffy Pop and Banquet. However, if you look at its stock price over the last 20 years, it was only this year that it hit the high it made in 1997.

It should be doing better with these great brands. Let’s list some more, namely Gulden’s, Kid Cuisine, Fiddle Faddle, Wesson, Parkay, Chef Boyardee, Manwich, Pam, Tennessee Pride, Orville Redenbachers, Marie Callender’s, Rotel, Slim Jim and even those Andy Capp potato sticks. A few products are even declasse, including those funky Penrose sausages and Slim Jims.

Again, they have GREAT brands, all with stellar consumer awareness. What they are lacking is a narrative for the company that ties them all together, with a company brand to stand behind the individual brands.

To get a sense of the consolidation that has happened since the 1970s, most of those individual brands were owned by different companies, and all aggregated together as the decades moved on.

The company just announced a move to Chicago, a decision that proves ConAgra has shed its agricultural roots fully. While an office in the Merchandise Mart is glam and sexy, and may keep the company closer to advertising agencies and such, there is no reason why Chicago is a better place for consumer product brand management. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Grocery

CBS Radio Debuts Online Sports Roundup

September 19th, 2015 · 1 Comment

By Garland Pollard

CBS_radioNEW YORK– CBS is the nation’s most credible name in radio. This week, it debuted a new online experiment that marries the best of online and terrestrial radio. It’s CBS Sports Radio Roundup, a 12-hour weekday online stream that aggregates the best interviews from across the CBS radio spectrum, taking you “around the dial of sports” and “from breakfast time to game time” and “we go from coast to coast and everywhere in between.”

CBS has great radio assets, and its individual stations produce an incredible volume of audio content, much of it lost in space. The Roundup is interesting because it takes these assets and revalues them for a new market without diminishing the value of the live local radio station. It complements the CBS Sports radio network, which was launched in January of 2013.

I listened for a few hours of the opening day, and it sounded great, even for a first time out. Great to hear about a “snot and clobber” defense from CBS analyst Jason La Canfora. Many things these days need “snot and clobber.”

Branding-wise, it is useful for CBS, as it respects and promotes the CBS radio brand, as well as promoting the each individual station brand, some of which are tremendously valuable franchises. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Media

Bringing Back Former ConAgra Brand Morton Frozen Foods

September 7th, 2015 · No Comments

By Sean Heuvel

A trio of Morton meat pot pies from the 1960s.

A trio of Morton meat pot pies from the 1960s.

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – It has been nearly a generation since Morton Frozen Foods products graced the shelves of grocery store freezers.  The venerable brand was phased out in the late 1990s by its current owner ConAgra after a storied 60-plus year history. This was done reportedly as part of a corporate streamlining effort to increase efficiency and avoid redundancy of similar brand offerings within the ConAgra product line.

However, while the Morton brand is gone, fond memories of it remain. A simple internet search for Morton quickly reveals legions of consumers who are desperately trying to find its famed pot pies, honey buns, mini donuts, and other once related products.  In fact, some claim that Morton Frozen Foods is one of the most searched for “dead brands” on the internet.  Why not bring Morton back?

A group of Morton Frozen Foods product enthusiasts are attempting to do just that. Comprised largely of former Morton employees, descendants of Morton employees, and fans of the brand, the group is embarking upon a multi-pronged campaign to put Morton back on the map.  The first phase of this campaign involves an effort to re-introduce Morton and its fascinating story to the public through social media as well as through print and online media articles. In time, a website and perhaps even a book showcasing Morton’s history and legendary product offerings may also come into being.

Once enough interest has been generated, the group would plan to enter the second phase of its plan – to launch a lobbying campaign to convince ConAgra to resume production of select Morton products.

Such a move could be made on a trial basis, with ConAgra reintroducing Morton’s most popular products – perhaps the honeybuns and/or mini donuts – in selected areas to gauge consumer interest.  Should the products prove popular enough, ConAgra could then resume production of Morton products on an even wider scale.  Should ConAgra not be interested in relaunching Morton itself, its executives could perhaps be persuaded to license or even sell the rights to another company. The possibilities are endless.

Want to help? Here are three ways you can get involved:

Working together, we can bring back Morton Frozen Foods!

Dr. SeanHeuvelAbout the Author: Dr. Sean Heuvel is a faculty member at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA, and holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and the University of Richmond.  A historian by trade, Sean is proud of his close familial ties to Morton Frozen Foods.  He is the great-grandson of Jean D. Patton (1898-1956), who helped establish the Morton Packing Company with his family friend Harold Morton in 1938.  Patton went on to serve as the company’s vice president of production as well a member of Morton’s board of directors.  Further, Sean is the grandson of Gene Liberati (1922-2011), who was also a longtime Morton executive.  Sean lives with his wife and two children in Williamsburg, Virginia.



→ No CommentsTags: Grocery

Hydrox Cookies Go Back Into Production

September 5th, 2015 · No Comments

By Garland Pollard

NEWPORT BEACH – Ellia Kassoff, the man behind number of successful brand revivals, is bringing back Hydrox Cookies. The cookies began production again this week.1399655813000-XXX-Hydrox-cookies

Hydrox was often perceived as the “other” brand of stuffed cookie, Nabisco’s Oreo being more famous most of the 20th century. Hydrox was made by Sunshine Bakery, purchased by Kellogg’s, but the company discontinued the brand. In actuality, Hydrox was first.

Kassoff, of Leaf Brands LLC and Strategic Marks LLC,  has successfully brought back a number of old candy brands, including Bonkers, Wacky Wafers, Astro Pops and Tart ‘n Tiny’s as part of his Leaf Brands company. Kassoff has also been attempting to bring back the old department store brands that Macy’s dropped years ago, including Robinsons and Filene’s.

You can follow the progress on Facebook, including some shots of the production line. The Hydrox effort got a large boost in August when Republican candidate Donald Trump said he was swearing off Oreos because of the move of production to Mexico, where sugar is cheaper.


→ No CommentsTags: Grocery