A “Brand” New News Chum

Today’s lunchtime news chum all has to do with brands and branding:

  • Refreshing a Brand. USA Today has an article on two brands (Pepto Bismol, Wheat Thins) that are refreshing themselves to create a new image. Pepto Bismol is realizing that the pink bottle isn’t portable, and so is introducing Pepto-Bismol To-Go, a pack of 12 cherry-flavored, chewable tablets in a pink, plastic cylinder. This does nothing for me; Pepto has always had chewables. The other brand is Wheat Thins, who has decided to stop marking themselves as a cracker, instead going for the “salty snack” market. Umm, no.
  • Brand Origins. The OC Register has an interesting story on the origins of two brands: Motel 6 and Sambos Restaurants. Both started in the Santa Barbara area (as did Cocos Restaurants). Motel 6 is still going strong, and the article talks about the original Motel 6, which is still in operation. Sambos, however, isn’t. It is down to one restaurant, the original. Why did this happen? Because of a bad choice to tie the restaurant (which was named after the founders, Sam Battistone Sr and Newell Bohnett) to the 1899 children’s book “The Story of Little Black Sambo” that depicted a dark-skinned boy who saves himself from tigers by running them around until they turn to butter, then pours it on some pancakes. Most of the Sambos that once existed became Bakers Squares.
  • Zipping It Up. A fascinating article from Slate on YKK Zippers, the people who make such high quality zippers that no one wants to use anything else. Once interesting note is that YKK owns their entire supply chain to ensure quality.
  • Splitting Shoes. Collective Brands is splitting up.  That may mean nothing to you, but let’s put it another way: Wolverine Worldwide (the folks behind Hush Puppies and Patagonia) has bought Collective, and will be keeping their shoe business (Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride-Rite and Keds). They will be spinning off the retail business (Payless Shoes).