Zombie Marketing: Why dead brands are being brought back from the grave

 Today I received a package from my sister who lives in Boston. Inside was something I haven’t seen since I was twelve:...

9 Jun 2009 5590 Views

Today I received a package from my sister who lives in Boston. Inside was something I haven’t seen since I was twelve: a box of Quisp breakfast cereal. That’s because its producer, Quaker Oats, stopped selling the brand in the mid 1970’s.  Thirty years later it seems Quaker Oats have had a change of heart (assuming that my box of Quisp is new and not some relic my sister found on E-Bay).


Quisp cereal. Born 1965. Born again 2008.

A company returning one of its retired brands to the market can be effective at  promoting a sense of nostalgia.  But I suspect the reasons for reviving lost brands today is less about sentiment and more about dollars and cents. All this makes the practice more relevant today than ever.  The implications of Quisp’s return provide a lesson in brand equity management that could yield a nice windfall for companies who have a backlog of retired brands.


Bri>Brim and Quisp – examples of brands that came back from the dead

Brim is another case in point. Brim Coffee from General Foods was once a household name in America. That was until General Foods was merged into the same conglomerate as Kraft Foods who owned the Maxwell House brand.  Brim was made redundant and quietly sidelined in the 90’s.  In 2007 a company called River West Brands in Chicago did some research and discovered that among people over the age of 25, Brim had 92 percent aided awareness. With that awareness come perceptions, mostly positive and grown somewhat sweeter, I’d imagine, in the sepia-glow of nostalgia.

Quisp and Brim are just the beginning. There are hundreds of has-been brands around the world that have been removed from the market often for no fault of their own. Each of these brands houses latent awareness and  perception, not to mention a warm and fuzzy sense of nostalgia.

Think of it: A company like General Foods or Quaker Oats invest hundreds of millions burning a brand name in the the minds of every man, woman and child in America.  Later, due to mergers or mismanagement, the brand fall out of favor and disappears. Where does the brand equity go? Nowhere, it stays where it has always been – with consumers.

Nos>Nostalgia as a strong factor in relaunching a dead brand

v class="wp-caption alignleft">Panamericanairways01

Dead since 1991 this iconic brand met the sad fate of being
purchased by a tiny railroad in New England.