This points up a very important idea in brand preservation, namely that it is important to keep something continuous going as it is hard to start something completely from scratch.
Today, as companies morph and change, it is important for company owners to protect the intellectual property assets in places where it can be not only preserved but protected in case either the company gets bought, goes bankrupt or just plain screws things up.
This is the case with Polariod, where a well known brand that sold for millions after bankruptcy auction was unable to continue production of its namesake film. The technology was scattered, manufacturing processes were lost, and now new idealists are having to reconstruct the Polaroid process.
The brand is terribly valuable; just this weekend on the beach, I overheard conversation about whether sunglasses were Polarized.
We can think of a couple of other film technologies that have been slightly forgotten, but still seem viable as niche brands, including the Kodak Carousel, Kodachrome film and the Kodak Super 8 movie. One process we can’t see much value in is the Kodak 110 camera. I never got that one.
Other retro technologies have had reprieves as times changed. We can think of revivals of:
- Vinyl records, now popular again
- AM Radio, revived in the 1970s, and then again in the 1990s with talk radio
- Network television, pronounced dead with the advent of cable television, yet at the same time, Fox TV was launched.
- Network radio, revived with the popularity of NPR. (Read our ideas for network radio here)
The story at The New York Times is entitled Polaroid Lovers Try To Revive Old Film:
ENSCHEDE, the Netherlands — In this small town just across the border from Germany, a small group of Dutch scientists and one irrepressible Austrian salesman have dedicated themselves to the task of reinventing one of the great inventions of the 20th century — Polaroid’s instant film.
Digital cameras are ubiquitous, cheap and easy to use — the reasons Polaroid stopped making the film last year — so what this group in Enschede is attempting may seem hopelessly retrograde.
But to them, that is exactly the point. They want to recast an outdated production process in an abandoned Polaroid factory for an age that has fallen for digital pictures because they think people still have room in their hearts for retro photography that eschews airbrushing or Photoshop.