For some brands there is life after death

By Danny Altman
April 15, 2009
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Filed under Branding

In a New York Times story called Brand Names Live On After the Stores are Closed, we find out what happens when brands survive the companies that gave birth to them. A case in point, a familiar retailer that started in San Francisco.

Nothing quite exemplified the American male’s attraction to bright, shiny objects like the Sharper Image.  Well you can say goodbye to all that because the Sharper Image is out of business. But wait a minute. The Sharper Image we all know is dead but the brand has moved into a different body. A Canadian body no less. The Sharper Image brand is now owned by Hilco Consumer Capital in Toronto. (“Strategic acquisitions of iconic consumer product brand names”) It’s a branch of a liquidator that takes companies across the St. Lawrence to the happy hunting grounds and relieves them of their possessions.

Then they go back and buy the brand and license it to other companies. So you might walk into a Bed Bath & Beyond (sure to be the subject of a future story on ridiculous names) and find a Sharper Image garment steamer for $19.99.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. The fact is that companies die all the time. But just because the company dies, it doesn’t mean that the brand has to be buried along with it. There was a small fishing and expedition outfitter on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan that opened in 1892. It was called Abercrombie & Fitch.

David Abercrombie would be turning over in his grave. It’s a good thing he didn’t stick around for the sequel.

Anybody need a Star Wars poker set?