SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
Founded in 1852, it began making gasoline cars in
1904 and ceased production in 1966.
“It has a memorable name but wasn’t a memorable
car, so you’re free to go in a totally new direction—
like making an electric car. The iconic name could
give an early-stage car company a much-needed
marketing boost. People think Studebaker is a piece
of history and might not clamor for its return. But
they’d certainly be intrigued to see it again.”
for two once-
“It doesn’t have to be a car company. Studebaker is
about classic style, and where do I need more classic
style? Maybe with my luggage and travel
accessories. The closer you get to transportation,
the more relevant the brand is. Just remember:
Studebaker may be classic, but it was also a failure.
It’s one click away from the Edsel. So you’d have to
work hard to convince people it can be strong
REBOO T CEO: Mark
Thomann, CEO of River
Josh Feldmeth, CEO of
Interbrand New York
AD MAN: Huw Griffith,
CEO of M&C Saatchi
; PANELIS T’S SUCCESS PREDIC TION
“People buy cars that project the image they want,
but millions of people are driving the same car. So
offer one premium product that harks back to the
golden era of driving: a handmade, made-to-order
1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner, with all-new engineering. It’s luxury and style. We look to
romanticize the ’50s, the American diner, James
Dean, mobility, and freedom on the road.”
In 1994, it was one of the first free sites to build and
host a website. Discontinued by Yahoo in 2009.
“There are some brands that are better off dead,
and this is one of them. Sure, it may not have many
negatives, but it doesn’t have many positives either.
And the name isn’t strong enough to build on. It’s
time to let this one go.”
“There are brands that people love and brands that
just help people do things. Geocities was the latter,
and its original function is outdated. So much of
what we’re doing now is about checking in—the
intersection of place and community. But there’s
opportunity: Facebook and Foursquare are broad,
not focused, and Geocities originally organized
websites by interests. So it could be a niche site, like
one that catalogs craft beers across the country.”
“The original Geocities ‘cities’ weren’t geographic.
But now, they could take on Yelp and Craigslist and
become a comprehensive guide to every city in
America. Businesses would have listings, but there
would also be event guides, concert reviews, a real
insider’s view. Then again, Geocities was relevant
when far fewer people used the web. Would most of
today’s Internet users even know the name?”
HEY, NEW O WNER OF STUDEBAKER, WHAT WILL THE BRAND BECOME? //
“I envision it as a custom, limited-edition, high-end sports coupe, while staying true to a little of the original design. The car totally
speaks to American pride and entrepreneurial spirit,” says Chicago entrepreneur Nathan Benditzson (whose family once
owned the rights to the Studebaker Avanti). His intent-to-use trademark application for Studebaker was accepted this spring, and
he’s hoping to start production within two years. Meanwhile, he has a design draft (right).
BEER: National Premium, a
beer that died in 1996
NE W O WNER: Tim Miller,
local real-estate agent How Much Will It Cost o Revive This Beer?
// Miller’s estimated relaunch cost
That includes $100,000 for marketing,
and $75,000 for the beer’s first run.
Rather than brew it himself, he’ll save
money by hiring a bre wery to work off
National’s old recipe. He expects
immediate interest. “It has big-time
name recognition,” he says.
// The beer’s marketing value
That’s what the owner of a similar
regional beer—Mark Hellendrung of
Narragansett Beer—estimated his
brand’s recognition was worth in
advertising dollars when he relaunched
it in 2005. He spent $10,000 on a
billboard, and it was an instant hit.
// Cost of overcoming the past
“You can get caught up in the romance,
but you have to keep in mind that there
are a lot of people who lived through
the demise and remember people
being laid off,” says Hellendrung.
Winning over old-timers requires time,
money, and lots of samples.