Neglected classic brands have marketing potential

Rather than looking to new-product development to bring in business, design consultancy staff should take a look through their mother’s cupboards, and consider reviving dormant classic brands, according to new research.

Marketing experts at advertising agency Mitchell, Patterson, Grime, Mitchell, have identified some 600 dormant or neglected British brands which they say are capable of revivals which could reach the same scale of success as SmithKline Beecham’s repackaged and extended Lucozade line.

The agency says the design industry should view nostaglia as being as valuable a business resource as npd. It claims UK firms are potentially losing out on “tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds” by not realising the potential of adapting old brands to today’s market.

On the list are nostalgic names such as Capstan cigarettes, Gumption toilet cleaner and Knights-Castille soap.

Many are brands which are still sold, but have recently received only muted support in marketing and design, such as Camp Coffee, Fray Bentos pies, Germolene, Hornby and Cherry Blossom shoe polish. The brands have history, but have failed to keep pace with the design innovations of rivals, says the agency.

Managing partner Andrew Mitchell says the brands have huge heritage and the advantage of production lines which are already in place. Brands such as Vimto, and Oil of Ulay which have been redesigned and extended have proved profitable, he says.

Now designers should look for brand revitalisation as a way of boosting business, believes Mitchell. “Brand-owners have had trouble enough looking after their primary brands during recession, but many are now reporting their second year of profit and it is time to look at their secondary or older brands.

Young brand-owners try to make their name by launching new brands, but there are huge strengths and core equity values locked up in these wonderful old brands. It would cost millions to create brands that are this well recognised”, he adds.

However, he says there are some lost causes. “You can redesign Spam all you like, but convenience food has improved a lot since its launch, and this is now seen as inherently downmarket. The products must still be able to deliver for the revitalisation to work.”

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