The British candy bar Wispa is back. It was a result of an online campaign by fans, all led by the very notable Alan Simonds website called bringitback.ecclesweb.co.uk. Even Iggy Pop got into the campaign, allowing a banner unfurling at a concert. Quoting the Writers/Authors Snacking at Work cyberpunk site, the Wispa bar was so good that one should “Get your ass on a British Airways flight tonight. It’s worth it.”
It’s a long story on how it returned, reported by the New York Times on August 27, 2007. But the most interesting point is how it revealed the self-righteous and all knowing tone used by brand killers everywhere. Said Karl Heiselman of the firm Wolff Olins, “we have to be careful about relying on them to do our jobs.” Thankfully, Heiselman redeemed himself by the end of the article, telling reporter Eric Pfanner that it was a good example of “consumers’ owning the brand” vs. the corporation.
The reality is that someone did not do their job well at Cadbury. This is a similar situation with old Coke and Nabisco’s killing off Crown Pilot chowder crackers. The good news? Both of these products returned with a flurry of goodwill for the “offending” company. Consumers LOVE a company that admits a mea culpa, and brings a venerable old brand back. It makes a company look human. Even better, consumers understand the pressures that modern staffers at companies are under, and completely sympathize with workers who make mistakes because they also work at big companies. Good companies all make mistakes. It’s how you deal with those mistakes that makes a good company great.
Customers own good brands. Companies don’t. They are merely custodians for this generation, who owe it to consumers to keep a good product in business.
Companies won’t get into trouble. Companies shouldn’t get embarrassed by bringing an old brand back. In case after case, companies that bring back old brands are showered with goodwill for reversing their positions. People love big bullies who are humbled a bit.