new brand is
back (or polish
up) an old one.
REBOO T NATION
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVID CO WLES
“At one point, we were going to call
ourselves ‘ The Re Company,’ ” says
Mark Thomann. The CEO finally
chose River West Brands, but Re
was pretty good—not only a description of what he does (which is bring
brands like Salon Selectives back
to life), but as the essence of our
economy. Recession, yes. But also
Reboot. And Refresh.
In an economy with fewer ad
dollars to go around—U.S. advertising fell 14% in 2009 and recovered
only 5.4% last year—brand equity
is at a premium. “Do you create a
brand and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on brand awareness,
or do you take a brand with a starting point and spend less?” Thomann says. And so, welcome back
everyone—Muppets, Choc-Ola, even
the East India Co.
Existing companies have taken
the cue too: When sales flag, they
reboot—new image, new message,
even new products. But as the following two pages show, it’s not as
easy as just hitting the reset button.
Starbucks // After store closings
and a menu refresh, year-to-year sales
rose in 2010—after two down years.
Mitt Romney // Unlike his 2008 run
as a social conservative, his sleeves
are rolled up and he’s all economics.
Holiday Inn // A new look at 3,000
hotels (finished in 2010) increased
revenue per room by 5%.
Old Spice // The stodgy brand was
reborn with a new look, smell, and a
sexy man on a horse.
Jennifer Lopez // After movies,
twins, American Idol, and divorce,
she’s selling more albums.
Walmart // A new logo, ad
campaign, and merchandise gave the
company’s image a sweet kick.
Star Trek // The 2009 movie with
younger actors earned 473% more
than its predecessor, 2002’s Nemesis.
Glidden Paint // A narrower color
palette and improved paint quality
boosted household penetration 26%.
Polaroid // A beloved brand is
brought back from the dead, with
Lady Gaga as creative director.
Duke Nukem // Duke Nukem 3D
came out in 1996. Its sequel—Duke
Nukem Forever—hit in June.
Blip.tv // Following its reinvention
as a web-video curator, the site’s
traffic practically tripled.
Lincoln // The old car got an image
makeover to appeal to younger,