December 19, 2005
Product Naming: Commodore Makes a Comeback
In my earlier Product Naming: TV Brand Names Never Die, They Just Get Licensed post, I discussed how licensing deals have resurrected "dead" TV brands like Zenith and Westinghouse. It seems that the good brand name just can't be kept down.
Remember the Commodore computer? The original Commodore 64 was released in 1982 and taken off the market in 1993, during which time it sold 30 million units, making the Commodore 64 the best selling computer of all time according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
And now, it's back... a Dutch consumer media company, Yeahronimo Media Ventures acquired the Commodore name rights last year for $32.7 million and is using it now as its own company name. Commodore's instant recognition among technophiles attracted Yeahronimo (whose name is hard to pronounce and search for) and prompted Commodore's resurrection.
The new Commodore name is now on home media devices and a portable GPS system, a far cry from the ancient but beloved Commodore 64 computer that predated the Apple IIe. How beloved is Commodore? Well, Commodore 64 games have been formatted for the PDA and this year a book entitled "On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore" was published. Not bad for a brand name that has been out of business for over a decade.
Computer game fans from the 80's might remember Atari and Amiga, which have been kept in a sort of naming limbo by fans and a myriad of corporate owners but may yet see the daylight again in cell phones and low-end TV cabinets.
Other brand names that have also found new life are Polaroid and Sunbeam, both of which are now owned by Petters Group. The Polaroid name is used on high-end consumer electronics that include Plasma and DLP TVs, portable DVD players, digital cameras, and other home entertainment products.
Welcome back, old friends...
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