Death of a Brand

I’m taking a quick late lunch break today, and I’d like to have a moment of silence for a brand that died yesterday: Pontiac.

Now, I never owned a Pontiac, but I do drive a Pontiac-clone: the Toyota Matrix. Or should I say the Pontiac Vibe was the clone, as Toyota designed the car. Therein lies the reason for the death of Pontiac: they went from a distinct brand with distinct vehicles with distinct characters to rebadging of other cars. But when Pontiac was unique, they made cars that were unparalleled. I remember their heyday in the 1970s, when they were known for their muscle cars.

In mourning this passing, I’d like to quickly muse on the life of brands. To me, at least, I love the notion of brands and advertising characters. I was pleased to see a recent Alka-Seltzer ad that brought Speedy Alka-Seltzer back to life. I still mourn the original NBC Peacock (who remembers the NBC “N”) and the NBC Chimes. I miss “Little Nipper” of RCA, and talk often about that little minx, Wendy. I guess this shows the power of advertising to turn these ideas into tangible things that we become attached to.

So, my LJ and FB friends, what are your favorite departed brands and advertising icons?