Cincinnati Business Journal interviewed BrandlandUSA in an August feature on Christian Moerlein beer and Rookwood Pottery brands. The Wall Street Journal online on April 18, 2012 discusses the idea of reviving dead brands and their usefulness for the small entrepreneur. See Old Brands Get a Second Shot. The November 2010 Smart Money features a story by Anne Kadet on orphan brands, and mentions BrandlandUSA. QSR, for quick service restaurants, used our advice on branding in the event of a bankruptcy in the October 2010 article Back from Bankruptcy.
Some of our posts appear on the site Seeking Alpha. Sacramento Bee mentioned us for our search for
Sea & Ski
Read our commentary in Richmond's Style Weekly on the future of (the late) Circuit City at
Advice for Circuit City. See a Toledo Blade Story on the future of a historic White Tower restaurant. Read Editor Garland Pollard's personal writing clips online at www.garlandpollard.com.
JAMAICA, QUEENS, N.Y. – The historic Pan American WorldPort is not down yet, and the group fighting to save the iconic structure from Delta’s destruction has upped the ante in its come-from-behind campaign to save the building, the interior of which is pictured here (Photo from Josh Stoff, curator of the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, who shared it with the Facebook Pan Am site).
The group Save the WorldPort has undertaken a crowd-sourcing program to raise money to buy an ad in The New York Times. So far, it has $5,ooo and has been assisted by checks large and small. They have until July 15 to raise the funds.
The advocacy group has done a miraculous thing by raising this much attention. When the demolition was first announced, Delta and the Port Authority were ignoring the issue, but have now had to confront the possibility that they would be the ones responsible for tearing down what is arguably the only remaining building that President John F. Kennedy and his family actually used, most notably Jackie Kennedy’s trip on Pan Am with Caroline to Italy in 1962.
Two weeks ago, the structure had its biggest boost ever, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that it would put the building on its 11 Most Endangered List. The cause, which was generating tons of publicity around the world, gained dozens of new stories and mentions. However, in a rush job, Delta and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began to tear down the approach road to the building, as well as part of its iconic saucer roof. Sadly, a worker was injured and the work stopped temporarily, though asbestos abatement is now being done to the building, which was the home of the first commercial flight of the 747.
The case for the history of the building has been made in dozens of ways, from its engineering to artistry. It appeared as a star in James Bond films, and was an actual backdrop to many historic trips. It also is historic because of the ACTUAL history that happened there. It is well known for being the spot where the Beatles landed, but it was also the scene of dozens of historic flight arrivals and departures, from Jonestown, Guyana to the Shah of Iran. As Pan Am’s terminal to the world’s greatest city and the home of the United Nations, it became an icon.
Repeat: Most importantly, it is the JFK building that was used by the Kennedy family. Does that matter?
Since the Endangered List began, numerous proposals have been floated for the terminal. One of the most interesting ideas is to remove ALL of the back (added in 1970 for jumbo jets like the 747) and keep the smaller rotunda, which is the original part anyway. This is an interesting one from broker Mark Jerusalem:
I think Delta is incredibly well positioned to benefit from this landmark should your company agree to a refurbishment of the “saucer” section of the terminal.
One of my visions for JFK’s Terminal 3 is for Delta to repurpose the original structure that opened in 1960 as an stand-alone facility for your most prestigious long haul flights (LHR including VS code-shares, NRT, transcons including LAX and SFO). DL could provide exclusive lounges and duty free shopping in this terminal with seamless connections between Terminals 2 and 4. As there is limited space to park wide-body aircraft at the “saucer”, just having 5 – 8 gates to serve flights to your most lucrative destinations from Terminal 3 would provide Delta with the kind of competitive and distinctive edge you seek in the NYC market. I picture a terminal as sleek and unique as the refurbished St. Pancras train station in London blending a historically important gateway with contemporary functional design.
I hope that you will consider the numerous proposed concepts and suggestions you have received for this building at JFK. To tear down this historically significant landmark to make room for an aircraft parking lot seems to me to be such a lost opportunity. I would love to see Delta taking the best of its history and using it to the airline’s ultimate advantage well into the future!
Delta, which gained so much from its purchase of Pan Am, still has time to do the right thing by the building.
In a press release, the group’s Kal Savi said that the rotunda takes a small share of the acreage at JFK. “It only consumes four of the 48 acres on the Terminal 3 site, so land constraint should be a non-issue,” said Savi. “The former TWA terminal was saved, and we feel the rotunda is equally significant in terms of historic, architectural and cultural merit, and after renovations, can be put back into revenue-generating use.”
“Right now our best approach is to raise even more awareness,” said the group’s co-founder and organizer Anthony Stramaglia, also in the release. “The ad will argue that Delta and the Port Authority can find a workable solution to save the building, which will not only benefit historic preservation, but will create even more jobs.” Stramaglia says the ad will run whether the building stands or falls because the group feels an injustice is being done.
And in spite of the fact that the Port Authority and Delta want it down now, its not down until its down. That’s the oldest rule in historic preservation.
Plus, in a recovering economy and booming stock market, Delta’s share price is stuck about where it was in 2008. It needs a little oomph.
ATLANTA – Before there was Vera Bradley, before Vera Wang, there was Vera, which has reappeared as a short-term promotion for Target. Not only is the reappearance a good thing for a great classic brand, but it is proof that any number of similarly named products can exist in the same market space and same or overlapping USPTO “goods and services” categories and yet still not confuse the customer.
My grade school teachers at Norfolk Academy, particularly Mrs. Land and Mrs. Guion, were stylin’ ladies and both wore Vera, as did many others, I am sure. (Note, the latter, my 3rd grade teacher, drove what I think I recall was a blue Mercedes 230 with her perfectly tied Vera scarves.) The brand is part of a number of VERY powerful niche fashion brands of the 60s and 70s that completely lost their audience; think Etienne Aigner and Pappagallo, the latter relegated to the unimaginative “moderate” category of Jones Group Inc (Ticker: JNY).
Vera Neumann started her scarf making after World War II, and turned it into an American icon, in the same kitchen table manner as Lilly Pulitzer. It was part of a group of extremely popular post-war print companies including Pucci, Marimekko (which has also been revived) and Laura Ashley.
The company grew into all segments of fashion; Perry Ellis worked for the company when it was part of Manhattan Industries and after he left Virginia’s Miller & Rhoads.
The Wikipedia entry has Vera Licensing sold in 1999 to The Tog Shop, a catalog company which had licensed sportswear from Vera Licensing. The Tog Shop was put up for sale in 2005 and Susan Seid, then then vice president of merchandising of Tog Shop, bought the name. Smart move.
Press reports from Target say that the line is available April 28 to June 23, at all U.S. and Canadian stores and Target.com. The collection offers 17 scarves, according to Brooke Rymer, senior specialist, Category Marketing. “The designs on the scarves represent what Vera was all about—happiness, optimism, inspiration and originality. A Vera Neumann design is timeless, making it the perfect gift.”
Atlanta magazine has a great profile of Seid, who has cleverly revived the company. Writes Betsey Riley:
Susan Seid, a Boston-area merchandising executive, moved to Atlanta to revive the Tog Shop, a staid, fifty-year-old catalog business. On a tour of the factory in Americus, the president took Seid into a remote storeroom above the plant, where she was stunned to find racks, piles, and boxes of Neumann’s work, all copyrighted and nearly forgotten. “There were 20,000 scarves,” says Seid, “each one more amazing than the next. I was so blown away, I was babbling. It was almost like when you fall in love.”
The lesson here is not that any old brand can be revived, but instead you need someone who has the experience to revive the brand, loves the brand, and has the aplomb to understand what was great about the brand, and make it current and fresh again without losing the original spirit.
LONDON – Barclays plc has rolled out a new, revamped Barclaycard Arrival card for the U.S. market. The card promises that you can earn all sorts of travel perks for signing up for their plastic. Just last week, they even had booths in major airports like Tampa.
But the card is missing any connection to the Barclays brand, and the bank’s iconic eagle has disappeared in favor of a sort of Blue Snake Orb (see image in collage at far right.) The snake orb is placed on a dreary gray backdrop that looks far more like some sort of TSA checkpoint badge than a smart, hip credit card for world travelers. [Read more →]
The social theorist and urban planner Andres Duany a few years ago gave a talk on “male” space in the American household. Male space has pretty much disappeared; the den, once male, became a family room, and then became housebroken. Homeowners associations will fine you for leaving the garage door open in some subdivisions. In many new build houses, garages are trimmed out with drywall, closing up the framing. This means that walls, which were once studded and could be easily turned into workshops, instead become sanitized.
Above is a Youtube of the talk; the beginning is slightly faded but the video quality gets better as it moves along.
Of course, since that talk, the so-called “man cave” has blossomed, but the man-cave is really about a male caricature, and is centered on consumption, namely beer and sports, rather than doing, building, repairing and yard work. A man cave is a far cry from dad’s workshop, where one might actually have the freedom to build something, get dirty and create.
During the talk, Duany remarked on the popularity of the Harley Davidson. Many Japanese brands, all packaged, come with all the parts, closed in. There is nothing to do with them. Contrast that with Harley. “There is a constant need to take it apart,” says Duany. “That’s where the magic of the Harley comes in.”
Some brands do specialize in add-on parts. The biggest brand of “parts” is perhaps Lego, which has a following among boys, more than girls. For girls, American Girl and Barbie are the biggest sellers of “parts” even though there is little that you do with them that is practical.
Of the adult brands, Apple is sort of all about “parts” as its products allow different add-ons and apps, which can change the nature of the product and make it fit the individuals needs. That’s ironic because there is very little you can do inside an Apple iPhone; it pretty much is what it is. Camera makers also encourage add-ons, with new lenses and the like as important part of the brand experience. Some furniture makers also encourage modularity; for instance Ethan Allen was known for selling furniture that you could add to as you went along.
What other brands could specialize in parts, pieces and add ons? Certainly, most car manufacturers cater to customizers, some like GM more than others, though Jeep is very high on the list. Tool brands are also purchased in pieces. And women’s craft brands, such as Dritz and Singer, capitalize on the fact that once you have started with a basic product, you might want to keep adding onto it. You can get a start with an inexpensive starter item, and keep adding as you become proficient in the skill.
One of the most notable modular products was the Sears Jon Boat, pictured at right in the 1986 Centennial catalog. In its smallest form, it could be purchased for $379. It was a classic entry level product that parents could afford for their boys, and it had practical uses for dads, as well as an all around knockaround boat.
In its basic form, it had oarlocks, so you didn’t even have to have an engine. If you purchased the boat, all of a sudden there were dozens of extras that had to be purchased, but happily, it could still be used on its own. The Jon boat also promoted the outdoors, and fit with the Boy Scouts supplier business that Sears was once famous for. Other lines like Sears Yachtsman, Gamefisher and Die Hard were promoted with the boat, the latter being an electric motor sold for $129.
Sometime after 1986, the Jon boat was discontinued; today a version of it is still made by Alumacraft, the ultra basic model 1036.
Today, Sears has VAST acres of empty space at their stores, particularly in the areas that were once reserved for tools and such. A few boats might jazz up the scene, and fit with their Lands End franchise. Or perhaps Sears might think of what other modular products might help them in their search to reinvent themselves?
RICHMOND – Many companies do not know what to do with old identities and iterations of their brand. Very often, they just ignore them, and move on, discarding that valuable history.
Educational institutions, too, have the issue of what to do with old versions of their brand.
The Collegiate School, a Richmond private day school, has done an innovative thing with a 1920s version of their old logo. They have brought it back and used it as the graphic identity for their Centennial Campaign.
The logo was used by the girls school when it was on Richmond’s historic Monument Avenue back in the 1920s. The old logo, seen at right, has a Deco feel, and looks amazingly hip for something 100 years old. Today, it looks fresh and new. The logo uses the school’s green and gold colors, so it appears to fit with the current look quite well. Even better, it will probably sell well at the gift shop. [Read more →]
If you were at a kids pool in the 1960s (or my wife on Lyford Cay, Bahamas in about 1968, photo at right), you would likely see toddlers swimming about with little bubble floats on their backs. In some cases they were plain styrofoam, but in many cases they were more stylish and fabric covered and of a brand called Swim Bouy.
Swim Buoy, founded in 1955 by Jack L. Brasington, Sr., was not a maker of life preservers. Instead, they were to help a child float and learn to swim.
In the last few decades, other methods became popular, including the floation devices that you remove strips from the side gradually as the child learns to swim. There is also the gruesome “throw in the water” immersion method, which somehow seems about as charming as water childbirth.
But the best was the Swim Buoy bubble float. It was best because it made the child swim and move about to keep its head above water, in a sense training the child to swim without knowing it.
Today, the Swim Buoy is still made, and by a small company in Miami. On their website, they show archival photos of children with the Swim Buoy. It’s still a fashion statement, and comes in clever, snazzy patterns, so that parents can feel hip about it.
We found a 1955 advertisement for a Swim Buoy. The item then was described as a “kapok” Swim Buoy, kapok being the tropical cotton type fabric used in life preservers. Kapok, which is derived from the kapok or ceiba tree, is native to South America, and is a waterproof silky cotton substance that was often used for pillows and flotation before petrochemicals.
For most Americans, one of the first places they learned to read news was Weekly Reader.
Launched in the 1920′s, the Weekly Reader name is synonymous with America, education and a sort of wholesome, fair account of the day’s news. Weekly Reader fits a sort of Americana of nice, peaceful schools with desks lined up in rows and students discussing the news events of the day in an unbiased, thoughtful way.
Weekly Reader comes from an era when educators took students seriously; throught the 20th century there were very intelligent publications for children including National Geographic’s School Bulletin and Junior Scholastic, also published by Scholastic. But by the 1970s, things got jiggy, including Scholastic’s Dynamite, which really was mostly a slick promotion for ABC television shows like Welcome Back Kotter.
This heralded the current era, when Scholastic is now selling all sorts of Hollywood-branded gifts and books to kids, most of which have little educational value except that they get kids to sit down in read. I guess it could be worse. I believe a Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus book that came home one day from the Scholastic bookstore was a sort of low.
By middle school, educators began offering student subscriptions to national magazines like Newsweek, which had special teacher programs.
Looking back, Dynamite was great fun (my favorite, along with the intellectual Cricket), but it was not great educator. National Geographic dumbed down their approach in the 1970s, from the intelligent School Bulletin to World, which better reflected the times, but was a much lower appoach. World recently disappeared, as well, I believe replaced by the publication National Geographic Kids.[Read more →]
One of the best-known toothpaste brands of the 20th century is still around, sort of.
The toothpaste brand, which in Turkey is as well-known as Colgate or Crest, is a forgotten footnote, and has been on and off the market in the U.S. for decades. Today, it is still hard to find, though a version is still made in Canada. Currently, the brand is owned by the Canadian medical supply company Maxill, which purchased the brand from Chicago’s River West Brands in October, 2009.
Ipana dates from 1901, and was one of the first products of Bristol-Myers, along with the mineral laxative Sal-Hepetica.
Ipana was one of the early products sold on radio, where the Ipana Troubadors were a fixture on the NBC Red and Blue networks. The band was led by Lester Lanin’s brother , Sam. In the 1940s, it was a sponsor of the radio show Time to Smile, which helped to restart Eddie Cantor’s career after he denounced the anti-semitic Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin. The group included Dave Grupp, who apparently played xylophones and trumpet, according to old Billboard magazines. Laura Lee’s book Name’s Familiar says the brand was a best-seller from 1936 to 1945.
Heavily advertised, baby boomers remember the brand’s television era and its Bucky the Beaver ads, which were apparently animated by Disney. The brand was advertised as being “ammoniated to reduce tooth decay” and containing chlorophyll. Bucky was chased around by DK-1, an evil decay germ. Both were very well done characters and quite entertaining.
In 1961, the brand, still owned by Bristol-Myers, introduced a version with “Hexa-Flouride” but pressure from Crest and Colgate helped to doom it. In 1968, Bristol-Myers stopped producing. However, in late 1969, two enterprising Minnesotans named Elliott Royce and John Howe picked up the abandoned trademark and started producing it again. But it went fallow yet again. In 2002, River West Brands of Chicago filed for the trademark; the USPTO has the revived brand’s first use in commerce in October of 2005. Even today, it is not on U.S. grocery shelves, though it is available on Amazon and at other specialty stores.
It’s actually pretty tasty; the current Canadian manufacturer Maxill sells to dentists mostly so the wintergreen taste very much makes you feel as if you have been to the dentist when you use it.
Graphic designer and artist Ben Luckinbill, son of Lucie Arnaz and actor Laurence Luckinbill, has posted a devastating critique of the current cultural obsession with brands, metrics, likes and conversion on his blog.
Simply titled “I Am Not a Brand,” the post, also in audio, appears on his blog Ben Luckinblog. It asks the question that doesn’t get asked very often, namely if we really need “any more crap.”
I wonder how many others feel that way?
“I’m not an event-driven out-of-box experience for the aspirational ages. I’m not a product to be placed, pushed, soft launched, hard launched, or focus-grouped after a power lunch. I’m more than the sum of my metrics, my likes, my rates of converting, bouncing, clicking-through, or my number of $%^&$ “followers”.
I’m not some multiple hyphenate jingoistic bit of chintz pushed by the Middle Man Class onto the perceived-to-be irrational great unwashed mass who don’t need any more crap in their tiny apartments; let alone another dollar they owe racking up 100% interest on a mountain of debt unlikely to be climbed or collected, only leveraged to buy food and pay the electric, and maybe buy a few Snuggies™ off the TV for when they shut off the heat.”
Notice it’s not a critique of things, just dumb things.
While I don’t hate capitalism or consumerism (they both just are facts of life, in my book), his critique about the way we are running our culture I think makes a point, and the bit about Snuggies and high-usury credit cards is quite devastating.
The subhead to the blog mentions “the fact that we live in the future and it’s insane.”
MIAMI – The late Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, the innovative NBC president responsible for the Today and Tonight shows, had a saying about Today. It was a show you could not kill, no matter what. Bad hosts, bad producers, off stories, competition..no worries! It was such a good idea that it was self correcting. (Sidenote: I wish I had the exact quote. I think it appears in Robert Metz’ excellent 1977 history of the Today Show, but the book is not indexed so its hopeless to get the words exactly.)
Ditto with the brand Pan Am, which seems to keep resurfacing no matter what happens. In the 25 years since the airline’s heyday (and the dreadful Lockerbie bombing) the brand continues its long life span through bankruptcy and all manner of failure.
In the last two years, ABC television launched the Pan Am TV show to only moderate success. While that venture ended, the brand continues to resurface, this time with a new Pan Am boutique in Miami’s Coconut Grove. Pictured here, the store as seen on their Facebook page. The store is not open yet; follow the Facebook page for exact details. It apparently has a small flight cabin inside the store. Nifty.
At the company’s bankruptcy in the early 90s, Delta kept Pan Am’s Atlantic routes and Worldport at John F. Kennedy Airport, and the Pan Am Shuttle, which was a separate entity. The name was the only thing left. It was then valued at $1,325,000 at bankruptcy auction.
Today, a group is trying desperately to save the Worldport at Pan Am. The effort deserves support.